Posted in Male speaker, Speeches

I am a Catholic (St. Edmund Campion)

Background:

Edmund Campion was an English Jesuit who was born in January 25, 1540, and was executed on December 1, 1581. He studied in St. John’s College in Oxford and became a close friend to Queen Elizabeth. Although born and raised a Catholic, Edmund Campion took the Oath of Supremacy, acknowledging Queen Elizabeth as the head of the Church in England. Campion became an Anglican deacon, but he started to have doubts with his new allegiance and went to Ireland where he had an epiphany and returned to his Catholic spirit.

Continue reading “I am a Catholic (St. Edmund Campion)”

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Posted in Male speaker, Speeches

The Rich Man and the Poor Man

Background:

A piece inspired from the Bible, The Rich Man and the Poor Man is, as you can guess, a dialogue between the rich man and the poor man. The poor man looks on as the rich man eats and lives in splendor. The Rich tosses the crumbs to the Poor. The last two lines of the piece are its most memorable parts, used and quoted by people around the world. Continue reading “The Rich Man and the Poor Man”

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 Male speaker, Speeches

The Defense of Brutus

Background:

The Defense of Brutus is one the most memorable oratorical pieces in history. Taken from the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, Brutus is one of the conspirators (together with Cassius), who plots against Julius Caesar, a well-loved Roman general and senator, and Brutus’ best friend. In the play, which is based on a historical event, Cassius convinces Brutus that Caesar will be drunk with power and will soon rule Rome as a tyrant. Cassius further convinces him that they must kill Caesar for the good of Rome.

The conspirators, with Caesar, meet for a council meeting. Behind the closed doors of the assembly, they stab Caesar to death, with Brutus giving the last stab to the heart, eliciting a cry from Caesar, “Et tu, Brute?” meaning “And you, Brutus?” or “You, too, Brutus?” Continue reading “The Defense of Brutus”

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. Continue reading “The Tribute of Marc Antony”

Posted in Male speaker, Speeches

Dagger of the Mind

Background:

Dagger of the Mind is taken from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which is based on a historical political conflict in Medieval Scotland, surrounding the death (assassination) of King Duncan by Macbeth. The play depicts Macbeth as a good friend and noble warrior, but has succumbed to greed after three witches tells him that he will be king. His wife, just called “Lady Macbeth”, tells him that there is no point in waiting if he will become king anyway. They might as well take the throne from Duncan. Continue reading “Dagger of the Mind”

Posted in Male speaker, Speeches

To Be or Not to Be

Background:

“To be or not to be, that is the question” is undoubtedly a famous line. This line is actually part of a monologue found in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. The tragedy is about Prince Hamlet of Denmark who is haunted by his father’s ghost. He has to avenge his father’s death by killing his uncle and usurper to the throne, Claudius, who has married his mother after becoming king.

Hamlet returns home to a much changed Denmark. The play centers around Hamlet’s descent into madness (and the debate on whether or not he is genuinely insane or just pretending). The monologue is about his musings on how human life is fleeting and very trivial compared to many things. He reflects on life and death.

To be or not to be
Act 3. Scene 1.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.

For those who would rather read modernized lines side-by-side Shakespeare’s writings, you can buy No Fear, Shakespeare: Hamlet.