Posted in Male speaker, Speeches

The Tribute of Marc Antony

Background of the Speech

Also known as Marc Antony’s Funeral Oration for Julius Caesar, this speech is also memorable and well-known. Taken from the same play Julius Caesar written by William Shakespeare, the piece is delivered by Marc Antony or Marcus Antonius, a good friend of Caesar, and his fellow general. While Brutus may be a politician and Marc Antony a soldier, there is not doubt that the better orator is the latter.

After Brutus’ defense of their actions and a funeral is held for Caesar, Marc Antony is allowed to speak in the ceremony, but prohibited from saying anything against the conspirators. A brilliant strategist and speaker, Marc Antony is still able to convince the people that killing Caesar was wrong, and that the conspirators should be punished. Instead of insulting the conspirators and calling them killers, Marc Antony calls Brutus and the rest of them “honorable men” multiple times in his speech. He also emphasizes how much Caesar had done for Rome, and that no past action of his could ever be considered tyrannical or power-hungry.

The line, “You all did love him once, not without cause. What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?” is used by Marc Antony to remind the people that they loved Caesar for a reason, but why isn’t that reason driving them to avenge him and mourn his death?

The end of the play sees the people siding with Marc Antony and persecuting the conspirators. Cassius is killed, and Brutus takes his own life, driven by guilt and regret.

Mark Antony’s Tribute to Caesar

 Act 3. Scene 2.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus

Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–

For Brutus is an honourable man;

So are they all, all honourable men–

Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me:

But Brutus says he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome

Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:

Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal

I thrice presented him a kingly crown,

Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;

And, sure, he is an honourable man.

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause:

What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?

O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

For those who want to read modernized texts side-by-side Shakespeare’s writings, you can look up the No Fear, Shakespeare series.

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Author:

I'm a fiction writer and blogger from the Philippines. When I'm not writing, I play with my pets or watch shows that are funny, scary, and thrilling. I am a book nerd and a shameless fangirl. Now excuse me while I go sniff the new book I just bought...

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