Posted in Female speaker, Speeches

Bad Girl

Background:

“Bad Girl” is a popular declamation piece among elementary and secondary students. The piece has circulated around the web, but no one can pinpoint who wrote this. The piece is written in first-person POV (point of view) about how the persona became “bad” because of neglect and bad influence from the society around her.

The piece talks about a rebellious teenager or a “problem child” who is, deep down, crying for help. The girl blames people and flaunts her wrong-doings, but in the end, she asks her parents and her elders to come help her. Continue reading “Bad Girl”

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Posted in Female speaker, Male speaker, Speeches

Land of Bondage, Land of the Free

Background:

This emphatic speech written by Raul S. Manglapus speaks of the tao (man) and his struggles against his oppressors. Although the piece clearly relays the oppression of the farmers during the Spanish era in the Philippines, it also speaks a universal truth of taking the law into one’s own hands. The tao, at first, does not fight, thinking that things did not need to escalate to violence. The tao then finds out that even his own countrymen have betrayed him for money. The piece climaxes into the tao’s anger. He has had enough of the oppression, and after the many times he had tried to settle things peacefully, he will strike at his oppressors when they least expect it. The last sentences are very moving and speak of the man’s desire for freedom.

Continue reading “Land of Bondage, Land of the Free”

Posted in Female speaker, Speeches

Till I Have No Wife I Have Nothing

Background:

This monologue is from the play All’s Well That Ends Well, a comedy by William Shakespeare. The speech is delivered by Helena, who is very much in love with her husband Bertram. Unfortunately, Bertram is not in love with her and has gone to Italy. Helena receives a letter from her husband stating that he will not go back to France to live with her.

Depressed, Helena delivers this monologue:

Till I Have No Wife I Have Nothing

Act 3. Scene 2.
“Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.”
Nothing in France until he has no wife!
Thou shalt have none, Rossillion, none in France;
Then hast thou all again. Poor Lord, is’t I
That chase thee from thy country and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the none-sparing war? And is it I
That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim, move the still ‘pearing air
That sings with piercing, do not touch my lord;
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff that do hold him to’t;
And though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so effected. Better ’twere
I met the ravin lion when he roared
With sharp constraint of hunger; better ’twere
That all the miseries which nature owes
Were mine at once. No, come thou home, Rossillion,
Whence honor but of danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all. I will be gone;
My being here it is that holds thee hence.
Shall I stay here to do’t? No, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house
And angels officed all. I will be gone,
That pitiful Rumor may report my flight
To consolate thine ear. Come, night—end, day,
For with the dark (poor thief) I’ll steal away.

For those who want to read modernized texts side-by-side Shakespeare’s writings, you can look up:

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Posted in Female speaker, Speeches

This Knot of Life at Once Untie

Background:
This piece is delivered by Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt in a Shakespearean play, Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra’s lover, Marc Antony, has been defeated by Julius Caesar’s successor, Octavius or August Caesar. Rather than brought to Rome as spoils of war, Cleopatra asks her handmaids to bring her asp (a snake). Cleopatra, in her room, kills herself.

This Knot of Life at Once Untie
Act 5. Scene 2.

Give me my robe, put on my crown—I have
Immortal longings in me. Now no more
The juice of Egypt’s grape shall moist this lip.
Yare, yare, good Iras, quick—methinks I hear
Antony call; I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act; I hear him mock
The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after wrath. Husband, I come!
Now to that name my courage prove my title!
I am fire and air—my other elements
I give to baser life. So, have you done?
Come then and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmian; Iras, long farewell.
[Kisses them. Iras falls and dies]
Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover’s pinch,
Which hurts and is desired. Dost thou lie still?
If thus thou vanishest, thou tellst the world
It is not worth leave-taking.

If she first meet the curlèd Antony,
He’ll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal wretch,
[To an asp which she applies to her breast]
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie. Poor venomous fool,
Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
Unpolicied!

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

Posted in Female speaker, Speeches

Though You Have No Beauty

Background:

Delivered by Rosalind in the comedy As You Like It, this is one of Shakespeare’s famous monologues for women. Rosalind and her cousin Celia have been banished by their uncle, the duke. They hide out in the forest, Rosalind disguised as a man “Ganymede”. She finds out that Orlando, the love of her life, is also hiding in the forest.

In this scene, “Ganymede” is waiting for Orlando, who is running late. While waiting, Rosalind and her cousin witness a man trying to woo a shepherdess who does not love him in return. Rosalind jumps into the fray and delivers this speech.

Though You Have No Beauty

Act 3. Scene 5.
And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother,
That you insult, exult, and all at once,
Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty—
As, by my faith, I see no more in you
Than without candle may go dark to bed—
Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
I see no more in you than in the ordinary
Of Nature’s sale-work. ‘Od’s my little life,
I think she means to tangle my eyes too!
No, faith, proud mistress, hope not after it.
’Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream
That can entame my spirits to your worship.
You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
Like foggy South, puffing with wind and rain?
You are a thousand times a properer man
Than she a woman. ’Tis such fools as you
That makes the world full of ill-favored children.
’Tis not her glass but you that flatters her,
And out of you she sees herself more proper
Than any of her lineaments can show her.
But, mistress, know yourself. Down on your knees,
And thank Heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love;
For I must tell you friendly in your ear,
Sell when you can—you are not for all markets.
Cry the man mercy, love him, take his offer;
Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
So take her to thee, shepherd. Fare you well.

Posted in Female speaker, Speeches

How Happy Some Over Others Can Be

Background:

The play where this speech comes from, A Mdisummer Night’s Dream, is a very popular comedy. Two lovers Lysander and Hermia wish to be married, but Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius, who was formerly engaged to Helena, who still loves him.

It’s a classic love square, with another comedic plot involving a lover’s quarrel between Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies, and a group of actors who are going to put up a show in front of King Theseus.With the meddling Puck, under Oberon’s orders, things get out of hand. One of the actors develops a donkey head. Titania is hit with a spell and falls in love with him. The four lovers, hiding in the forest, are also enchanted.

Lysander and Demetrius fall in love with Helena, leaving Hermia confused and heart-broken. In the end, though, the spells are lifted, Lysander and Hermia are married. Demetrius and Helena end up together, and the group of poor actors get recognized in the court of King Theseus.

Helena says these lines after Hermia and Lysander confide in her that they plan to elope into the forest. Helena muses how others can be so happy, while others dwell in misery.

How Happy Some Over Others Can Be
Act 1. Scene 1.

How happy some o’er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know.
And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured everywhere:
For ere Demetrius looked on Hermia’s eyne
He hailed down oaths that he was only mine.
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight;
Then to the wood will he tomorrow night
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense.
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.

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

In 2001, a film Get Over It featured a musical play on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Here’s one hilarious video on Demetrius and Lysander fighting over Hermia (Shane West is hilarious).

Posted in Female speaker, Speeches

And Fill Me… of Direst Cruelty

Background:

Macbeth is not the only one with fierce monologues. Lady Macbeth, too, has some great lines in the play, Macbeth. In this scene, Macbeth tells his wife he met three witches who has told him that he will be King of Scotland. Lady Macbeth thinks that, for the future to happen, they need to murder King Duncan. Lady Macbeth calls on evil spirits to grant her “cruelty” so that they could fulfill the deed.

And Fill Me… of Direst Cruelty

Act 1. Scene 5.
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”