Shakespeare Monologues — Men

Scroll down for Com­ed­ies, His­tor­ies and Tra­gedies — click each box to view and down­load the speech

 

 

Launce/Lance — TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA — Act II Scene 3

Char­ac­ter: Launce/Lance. He is Pro­teus’ servant. 

Age: Any

Play: TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

Speech: Act II Scene 3

Brief Syn­op­sis: Two Gen­tle­men of Verona is a comedy about two youth­ful men, Valentine and Pro­teus, and their adven­tur­ous love-mis­haps during their time in Milan as both men fall in love with the same woman, Silvia. In this scene Pro­teus has just left to Milan to meet his friend Valentine, and Launce, Pro­teus’ ser­vant, is drag­ging his dog (Crab), reveal­ing that his dog never cried as he bid his family farewell, and pro­ceeds to re-enact the event

Speech:

Nay, ’twill be this hour ere I have done weep­ing; all the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I

have received my pro­por­tion, like the prodi­gious son, and am going with Sir Pro­teus to the Imper­i­al’s court. I think Crab, my dog, be the sourest-natured dog that lives: my mother weep­ing, my father wail­ing, my sister crying, our maid howl­ing, our cat wringing her hands, and all our house in a great per­plex­ity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed one tear: he is a stone, a very pebble stone, and has no more pity in him than a dog: a Jew would have wept to have seen our part­ing; why, my gran­dam, having no eyes, look you, wept her­self blind at my part­ing. Nay, I’ll show you the manner of it. This shoe is my father: no, this left shoe is my father:

no, no, this left shoe is my mother: nay, that cannot be so neither: yes, it is so, it is so, it

hath the worser sole. This shoe, with the hole in it, is my mother, and this my father; a ven­geance on’t! there ’tis: now, sit, this staff is my sister, for, look you, she is as white as a lily and as small as a wand: this hat is Nan, our maid: I am the dog: no, the dog is him­self, and I am the dog—Oh! the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so, so. Now come I to my father; Father, your bless­ing: now should not the shoe speak a word for weep­ing: now should I kiss my father; well, he weeps on. Now come I to my mother: O, that she could speak now like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her; why, there ’tis; here’s my mother­’s breath up and down. Now come I to my sister; mark the moan she makes. Now the dog all this while sheds not a tear nor speaks a

word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears.

Launce/Lance — TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA — Act IV Scene 4

Char­ac­ter: Launce/Lance. He is Pro­teus’ ser­vant and has a dog called Crab.

Age: Any

Speech: Act IV Scene 4

Play: TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

Brief Syn­op­sis: Two Gen­tle­men of Verona is a comedy about two youth­ful men, Valentine and Pro­teus, and their adven­tur­ous love-mis­haps during their time in Milan. After a turn of events, both fall in love with Silvia, the duke’s daughter. 

Speech:

When a man’s ser­vant shall play the cur with him,
look you, it goes hard: one that I brought up of a
puppy; one that I saved from drown­ing, when three or
four of his blind broth­ers and sis­ters went to it.
I have taught him, even as one would say pre­cisely,
‘thus I would teach a dog.’ I was sent to deliv­er
him as a present to Mis­tress Silvia from my master;
and I came no sooner into the dining-cham­ber but he
steps me to her trench­er and steals her capon’s leg:
O, ’tis a foul thing when a cur cannot keep him­self
in all com­pan­ies! I would have, as one should say,
one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be,
as it were, a dog at all things. If I had not had
more wit than he, to take a fault upon me that he did,
I think verily he had been hanged for’t; sure as I
live, he had suffered for’t; you shall judge. He
thrusts me him­self into the com­pany of three or four
gen­tle­man­like dogs under the duke’s table: he had
not been there—bless the mark!—a piss­ing while, but
all the cham­ber smelt him. ‘Out with the dog!’ says
one: ‘What cur is that?’ says anoth­er: ‘Whip him
out’ says the third: ‘Hang him up’ says the duke.
I, having been acquain­ted with the smell before,
knew it was Crab, and goes me to the fellow that
whips the dogs: ‘Friend,’ quoth I, ‘you mean to whip
the dog?’ ‘Ay, marry, do I,’ quoth he. ‘You do him
the more wrong,’ quoth I; ’twas I did the thing you
wot of.’ He makes me no more ado, but whips me out
of the cham­ber. How many mas­ters would do this for
his ser­vant? Nay, I’ll be sworn, I have sat in the
stocks for pud­dings he hath stolen, oth­er­wise he had
been executed; I have stood on the pil­lory for geese
he hath killed, oth­er­wise he had suffered for’t.
Thou thinkest not of this now. Nay, I remem­ber the
trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam
Silvia: did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I
do? when didst thou see me heave up my leg and make
water against a gen­tle­wo­man’s farthin­gale? didst
thou ever see me do such a trick?

 

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Trinculo — THE TEMPEST — Act II Scene 2

Char­ac­ter: Trin­culo

Age: Any

Play: THE TEMPEST

Scene: Act II Scene 2

Brief Syn­op­sis: Pros­pero, the Duke of Milan, has been usurped and ban­ished with his daugh­ter. They arrive on a strange island, where Pros­pero spends his years ruling the creatures there with his magic. The play begins as Pros­pero has man­aged to ship­wreck a boat car­ry­ing those who had caused his ban­ish­ment. They arrive on the Island, and Pros­pero works his magic to humi­li­ate them and to execute his revenge. In this scene, Trin­culo, the jester, stumbles across Caliban- a creature of the island and slave to Prospoero.

Speech: 

Here’s neither bush nor shrub, to bear off
any weath­er at all, and anoth­er storm brew­ing;
I hear it sing i’ the wind: yond same black
cloud, yond huge one, looks like a foul
bom­bard that would shed his liquor. If it
should thun­der as it did before, I know not
where to hide my head: yond same cloud cannot
choose but fall by pail­fuls. What have we
here? a man or a fish? dead or alive? A fish:
he smells like a fish; a very ancient and fish-
like smell; a kind of not of the newest Poor-
John. A strange fish! Were I in Eng­land now,
as once I was, and had but this fish painted,
not a hol­i­day fool there but would give a piece
of silver: there would this mon­ster make a
man; any strange beast there makes a man:
when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame
beggar, they will lazy out ten to see a dead
Indian. Legged like a man and his fins like
arms! Warm o’ my troth! I do now let loose
my opin­ion; hold it no longer: this is no fish,
but an islander, that hath lately suffered by a
thun­der­bolt.
[Thun­der]
Alas, the storm is come again! my best way is to
creep under his gab­erdine; there is no other
shel­ter here­abouts: misery acquaints a man with
strange bed-fel­lows. I will here shroud till the
dregs of the storm be past.

 

 

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Proteus — TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA — Act II Scene 4

Char­ac­ter: Pro­teus

Age: Teens-late 20s

Play: TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

Speech: Act II Scene 4

Brief Syn­op­sis:  Two Gen­tle­men of Verona is a comedy about two youth­ful men, Valentine and Pro­teus, and their adven­tur­ous love-mis­haps during their time in Milan. After a turn of events, both fall in love with Silvia, the duke’s daugh­ter. Pro­teus had already sworn his love to Julia before set­ting eyes on Silvia, and Julia dis­guises her­self as a page boy to pursue Pro­teus in Milan, only to find him wooing Silvia. In this scene, Pro­teus has just seen his friend Valentien’s love-interest, Silvia, for the first time.

Speech:

Even as one heat anoth­er heat expels,
Or as one nail by strength drives out anoth­er,
So the remem­brance of my former love
Is by a newer object quite for­got­ten.
Is it mine, or Valentine’s praise,
Her true per­fec­tion, or my false trans­gres­sion,
That makes me reas­on­less to reason thus?
She is fair; and so is Julia that I love—
That I did love, for now my love is thaw’d;
Which, like a waxen image, ‘gainst a fire,
Bears no impres­sion of the thing it was.
Methinks my zeal to Valentine is cold,
And that I love him not as I was wont.
O, but I love his lady too too much,
And that’s the reason I love him so little.
How shall I dote on her with more advice,
That thus without advice begin to love her!
‘Tis but her pic­ture I have yet beheld,
And that hath dazzled my reas­on’s light;
But when I look on her per­fec­tions,
There is no reason but I shall be blind.
If I can cheque my erring love, I will;
If not, to com­pass her I’ll use my skill.

 

 

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Antipholus of Syracuse — THE COMEDY OF ERRORS — Act III Scene 2

Char­ac­ter: Anti­phol­us of Syracuse

Age: Late teens-30s

Play: THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

Scene: Act III Scene 2

Brief Syn­op­sis: A pair of long-lost identic­al twins, both named Anti­phol­us, and their slaves, also a pair of long-lost twins, both called Dromio, find them­selves in the same place at the same time…Comedy ensues as the locals, and even Anti­phol­us of Eph­esus’ wife and sister-in-law con­tinu­ally mis­take one twin for the other. 

Speech:

Sweet mistress—what your name is else, I know not,
Nor by what wonder you do hit of mine,—
Less in your know­ledge and your grace you show not
Than our earth’s wonder, more than earth divine.
Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak;
Lay open to my earthy-gross con­ceit,
Smother­’d in errors, feeble, shal­low, weak,
The folded mean­ing of your words’ deceit.
Against my soul’s pure truth why labour you
To make it wander in an unknown field?
Are you a god? would you create me new?
Trans­form me then, and to your power I’ll yield.
But if that I am I, then well I know
Your weep­ing sister is no wife of mine,
Nor to her bed no homage do I owe
Far more, far more to you do I decline.
O, train me not, sweet mer­maid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy sis­ter­’s flood of tears:
Sing, siren, for thy­self and I will dote:
Spread o’er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And as a bed I’ll take them and there lie,
And in that glor­i­ous sup­pos­i­tion think
He gains by death that hath such means to die:
Let Love, being light, be drowned if she sink!

 

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Richard II — RICHARD II — Act III Scene 2

Char­ac­ter: Richard II

Age: Late teens- early 20s

Play: RICHARD II

Scene: Act III Scene 2

Brief Syn­op­sis: Prior to the play, Richard secretly ordered the death of his uncle, Thomas of Wood­stock (Duke of Gloucester). As the play opens, there is a quar­rel between Henry Bol­ing­brook (Richard’s cousin and son of John of Gaunt) and Thomas Mow­brary, as Bol­ing­brook accuses Mow­brary of this assas­in­a­tion. As they pre­pare to duel, Richard II instead ban­ishes both of them. John of Gaunt soon dies after his son is ban­ished, and Richard takes Gaunt’s pos­ses­sions to fund his Irish wars and lavish life­style. As Richard goes to Ire­land, Bol­ing­brook returns from ban­ish­ment and gath­ers fol­low­ers against Richard. Upon Richard’s return, he finds all his friends have become trait­ors, his people are against him, and his sol­diers have aban­doned him. As Bol­ing­brook con­fronts Richard, Richard gives him the crown without a fight and Bol­ing­brook becomes King Henry IV.

Speech:

No matter where; of com­fort no man speak:
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epi­taphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let’s choose execut­ors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives and all are Bol­ing­broke’s,
And noth­ing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stor­ies of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some pois­on’d by their wives: some sleep­ing kill’d;
All murder­’d: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoff­ing his state and grin­ning at his pomp,
Allow­ing him a breath, a little scene,
To mon­arch­ize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infus­ing him with self and vain con­ceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impreg­nable, and humour’d thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn rev­er­ence: throw away respect,
Tra­di­tion, form and cere­mo­ni­ous duty,
For you have but mis­took me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: sub­jec­ted thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?

Richard II — RICHARD II — Act III Scene 3

Char­ac­ter: Richard II

Age: Late teens- early 20s

Play: RICHARD II

Scene: Act III Scene 3

Brief Syn­op­sis: Prior to the play, Richard secretly ordered the death of his uncle, Thomas of Wood­stock (Duke of Gloucester). As the play opens, there is a quar­rel between Henry Bol­ing­brook (Richard’s cousin and son of John of Gaunt) and Thomas Mow­brary, as Bol­ing­brook accuses Mow­brary of this assas­in­a­tion. As they pre­pare to duel, Richard II instead ban­ishes both of them. John of Gaunt soon dies after his son is ban­ished, and Richard takes Gaunt’s pos­ses­sions to fund his Irish wars and lavish life­style. As Richard goes to Ire­land, Bol­ing­brook returns from ban­ish­ment and gath­ers fol­low­ers against Richard. Upon Richard’s return, he finds all his friends have become trait­ors, his people are against him, and his sol­diers have aban­doned him. As Bol­ing­brook con­fronts Richard, Richard gives him the crown without a fight and Bol­ing­brook becomes King Henry IV.

Speech:

What must the king do now? must he submit?
The king shall do it: must he be deposed?
The king shall be con­ten­ted: must he lose
The name of king? o’ God’s name, let it go:
I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gor­geous palace for a her­mit­age,
My gay appar­el for an alms­man’s gown,
My figured gob­lets for a dish of wood,
My sceptre for a palmer­’s walk­ing staff,
My sub­jects for a pair of carved saints
And my large king­dom for a little grave,
A little little grave, an obscure grave;
Or I’ll be buried in the king’s high­way,
Some way of common trade, where sub­jects’ feet
May hourly trample on their sov­er­eign’s head;
For on my heart they tread now whilst I live;
And buried once, why not upon my head?
Aumerle, thou weep­’st, my tender-hearted cousin!
We’ll make foul weath­er with des­pised tears;
Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn,
And make a dearth in this revolt­ing land.
Or shall we play the wan­tons with our woes,
And make some pretty match with shed­ding tears?
As thus, to drop them still upon one place,
Till they have fret­ted us a pair of graves
Within the earth; and, therein laid,—there lies
Two kins­men digg’d their graves with weep­ing eyes.
Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see
I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
Most mighty prince, my Lord Northum­ber­land,
What says King Bol­ing­broke? will his majesty
Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
You make a leg, and Bol­ing­broke says ay.

 

Prince Henry (aka Harry/Hal and later King Henry V) — HENRY IV PART I — Act I Scene 2

Char­ac­ter: Prince Henry (aka Harry/Hal and later King Henry V)

Age: 20s-30s

Play: HENRY IV PART I

Scene: Act I Scene 2

Brief Syn­op­sis: The newly crowned Henry IV faces grow­ing oppos­i­tion from some of the nobles who helped him ascend the throne, while his son (Prince Harry/Hal) is living a care-free life in tav­erns with his friends and the notori­ous Sir John Fal­staff. In this Scene, Prince Henry has been drink­ing and plot­ting prac­tic­al jokes with his friends at a local tavern, but when they leave, he reveals in this speech that he is hanging out with these common friends so the king and others will think less of him, and there­fore he can give the ele­ment of sur­prise when he becomes king and impresses every­one with how kingly he actu­ally is. 

Speech:

I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour of your idle­ness:
Yet herein will I imit­ate the sun,
Who doth permit the base con­ta­gious clouds
To smoth­er up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be him­self,
Being wanted, he may be more won­der­’d at,
By break­ing through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were play­ing hol­i­days,
To sport would be as tedi­ous as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wish’d for come,
And noth­ing pleaseth but rare acci­dents.
So, when this loose beha­vi­or I throw off
And pay the debt I never prom­ised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsi­fy men’s hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reform­a­tion, glit­ter­ing o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I’ll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeem­ing time when men think least I will.

 

Henry V (Same as Prince Henry above, but now king and slightly older) — HENRY V — Act IV Scene 1

Char­ac­ter: Henry V (Same as Prince Henry above, but now king and slightly older)

Age: 30s

Play: HENRY V

Scene: Act IV Scene 1

Brief Syn­op­sis: Henry V centres around the newly crowned King Henry V and his right to rule both Eng­land and France. The French King rejects Henry’s claim to the crown. Henry’s forces take the town of Har­fleur, and then begin to retreat through Nor­mandy due to the poor con­di­tion of the men. Henry still plans for the sol­diers to fight, and on the eve of the battle of Agin­court, he dis­guises him­self and goes through his camp, hear­ing what his men and sol­diers truly think. After hear­ing his men’s opin­ions, in this soli­lo­quy, Henry con­sidered the heavy duty of Kingship.

Speech:

Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our care­ful wives,
Our chil­dren and our sins lay on the king!
We must bear all. O hard con­di­tion,
Twin-born with great­ness, sub­ject to the breath
Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel
But his own wringing! What infin­ite heart’s-ease
Must kings neg­lect, that private men enjoy!
And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save cere­mony, save gen­er­al cere­mony?
And what art thou, thou idle cere­mony?
What kind of god art thou, that suf­fer­’st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy wor­ship­pers?
What are thy rents? what are thy com­ings in?
O cere­mony, show me but thy worth!
What is thy soul of ador­a­tion?
Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,
Cre­at­ing awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art less happy being fear’d
Than they in fear­ing.
What drink’st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But pois­on’d flat­tery? O, be sick, great great­ness,
And bid thy cere­mony give thee cure!
Think’st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adu­la­tion?
Will it give place to flex­ure and low bend­ing?
Canst thou, when thou com­mand’st the beg­gar’s knee,
Com­mand the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play’st so subtly with a king’s repose;
I am a king that find thee, and I know
‘Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imper­i­al,
The inter­tis­sued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title run­ning ‘fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice-gor­geous cere­mony,
Not all these, laid in bed majestic­al,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill’d and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cram­m’d with dis­tress­ful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoe­bus and all night
Sleeps in Elysi­um; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyper­ion to his horse,
And fol­lows so the ever-run­ning year,
With prof­it­able labour, to his grave:
And, but for cere­mony, such a wretch,
Wind­ing up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vant­age of a king.
The slave, a member of the coun­try’s peace,
Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots
What watch the king keeps to main­tain the peace,
Whose hours the peas­ant best advantages.

 

Richard Duke of Gloucester — HENRY VI PART III — Act V Scene 6

Char­ac­ter: Richard Duke of Gloucester (who later becomes King Richard III in the next play)

Age: 20s-40s

Play: HENRY VI PART III

Scene: Act V Scene 6

Brief Syn­op­sis: The climax of the war of the roses, as dis­in­her­it­ance, battles, deaths  and cap­tures between Yorks and Lan­cas­trainss take place in the battle for the line of King­ship. Edward Earl of March is then declared King (King Edward IV), and the pre­vi­ous King, Henry, is cap­tured (twice) as battles ensue. In this scene, Richard arrives at Henry’s prison room and kills him, then speaks this over Henry’s corpse. 

Speech:

What, will the aspir­ing blood of Lan­caster
Sink in the ground? I thought it would have moun­ted.
See how my sword weeps for the poor king’s death!
O, may such purple tears be alway shed
From those that wish the down­fall of our house!
If any spark of life be yet remain­ing,
Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thith­er:
[Stabs him again]
I, that have neither pity, love, nor fear.
Indeed, ’tis true that Henry told me of;
For I have often heard my mother say
I came into the world with my legs for­ward:
Had I not reason, think ye, to make haste,
And seek their ruin that usurp’d our right?
The mid­wife won­der­’d and the women cried
’O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!‘
And so I was; which plainly sig­ni­fied
That I should snarl and bite and play the dog.
Then, since the heav­ens have shaped my body so,
Let hell make crook’d my mind to answer it.
I have no broth­er, I am like no broth­er;
And this word ‘love,’ which gray­beards call divine,
Be res­id­ent in men like one anoth­er
And not in me: I am myself alone.
Clar­ence, beware; thou keep­’st me from the light:
But I will sort a pitchy day for thee;
For I will buz abroad such proph­ecies
That Edward shall be fear­ful of his life,
And then, to purge his fear, I’ll be thy death.
King Henry and the prince his son are gone:
Clar­ence, thy turn is next, and then the rest,
Count­ing myself but bad till I be best.
I’ll throw thy body in anoth­er room
And tri­umph, Henry, in thy day of doom.

 

 

Timon — TIMON OF ATHENS — Act IV Scene 1

Char­ac­ter: Timon

Age: Any

Play: TIMON OF ATHENS

Scene: Act IV Scene 1

Brief Syn­op­sis: Timon, a wealthy man and phil­an­throp­ist, gives gifts to his friends and those in need without expect­ing any­thing in return. Yet when he finds he has no money left, he goes to his friends for help, but they turn their backs on him. In this scene, Timon, now pen­ni­less, stands out­side the wall of Athens and curses the city and all those inside who treated him like this. 

Speech:

Let me look back upon thee. O thou wall,
That gir­dlest in those wolves, dive in the earth,
And fence not Athens! Mat­rons, turn incon­tin­ent!
Obed­i­ence fail in chil­dren! slaves and fools,
Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench,
And min­is­ter in their steads! to gen­er­al filths
Con­vert o’ the instant, green vir­gin­ity,
Do ‘t in your par­ents’ eyes! bank­rupts, hold fast;
Rather than render back, out with your knives,
And cut your trusters’ throats! bound ser­vants, steal!
Large-handed rob­bers your grave mas­ters are,
And pill by law. Maid, to thy mas­ter­’s bed;
Thy mis­tress is o’ the brothel! Son of six­teen,
pluck the lined crutch from thy old limp­ing sire,
With it beat out his brains! Piety, and fear,
Reli­gion to the gods, peace, justice, truth,
Domest­ic awe, night-rest, and neigh­bour­hood,
Instruc­tion, man­ners, mys­ter­ies, and trades,
Degrees, observ­ances, cus­toms, and laws,
Decline to your con­found­ing con­trar­ies,
And let con­fu­sion live! Plagues, incid­ent to men,
Your potent and infec­tious fevers heap
On Athens, ripe for stroke! Thou cold sci­at­ica,
Cripple our sen­at­ors, that their limbs may halt
As lamely as their man­ners. Lust and liberty
Creep in the minds and mar­rows of our youth,
That ‘gainst the stream of virtue they may strive,
And drown them­selves in riot! Itches, blains,
Sow all the Atheni­an bosoms; and their crop
Be gen­er­al lep­rosy! Breath infect breath,
at their soci­ety, as their friend­ship, may
merely poison! Noth­ing I’ll bear from thee,
But naked­ness, thou detest­able town!
Take thou that too, with mul­tiply­ing bans!
Timon will to the woods; where he shall find
The unkind­est beast more kinder than man­kind.
The gods confound—hear me, you good gods all—
The Atheni­ans both within and out that wall!
And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow
To the whole race of man­kind, high and low! Amen.

 

Edmund — Play: KING LEAR — Act I Scene 2

Char­ac­ter: Edmund

Age: 20s-30s

Play: KING LEAR

Scene: Act I Scene 2

Brief Syn­op­sis: Edmund is the Earl of Gloucester’s ille­git­im­ate son, who plots to usurp Gloucester’s title and pos­ses­sions from Edgar (Gloucester’s older, legit­im­ate son). He deceives Gloucester into dis­in­her­it­ing Edgar.

Speech:

Thou, Nature, art my god­dess; to thy law
My ser­vices are bound. Where­fore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curi­os­ity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or four­teen moon­shines
Lag of a broth­er? Why bas­tard? where­fore base?
When my dimen­sions are as well com­pact,
My mind as gen­er­ous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam’s issue? Why brand they us
With base? with base­ness? bas­tardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More com­pos­i­tion and fierce qual­ity
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to th’ cre­at­ing a whole tribe of fops
Got ‘tween asleep and wake? Well then,
Legit­im­ate Edgar, I must have your land.
Our father­’s love is to the bas­tard Edmund
As to th’ legit­im­ate. Fine word- ‘legit­im­ate’!
Well, my legit­im­ate, if this letter speed,
And my inven­tion thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top th’ legit­im­ate. I grow; I prosper.
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Horatio — HAMLET — Act I Scene 1

Char­ac­ter: Hor­a­tio (hamlet’s closest friend from University)

Age: 20s-30s

Play: HAMLET

Scene: Act I Scene 1

Brief Syn­op­sis: Out­side Elsinore Castle in Den­mark, watch­men believe they have seen a ghost of the former King (Hamlet’s Father). Hor­a­tio, skep­tic­al of this, comes to join the watch­men to see if this is true. 

Speech:

A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the migh­ti­est Julius fell,
The graves stood ten­ant­less, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
As stars with trains of fire, and dews of blood,
Dis­asters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influ­ence Nep­tun­e’s empire stands
Was sick almost to dooms­day with eclipse.
And even the like pre­curse of fierce events,
As har­bingers pre­ced­ing still the fates
And pro­logue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth togeth­er demon­strated
Unto our cli­ma­t­ure and coun­try­men.
[Enter Ghost again.]
But soft! behold! Lo, where it comes again!
I’ll cross it, though it blast me.- Stay illu­sion!
[Spreads his arms.]
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease, and, grace to me,
Speak to me.
If thou art privy to thy coun­try’s fate,
Which hap­pily fore­know­ing may avoid,
O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extor­ted treas­ure in the womb of earth
(For which, they say, you spir­its oft walk in death),
[The cock crows.]
Speak of it! Stay, and speak!- Stop it, Marcellus!

 

Hamlet — HAMLET — Act I Scene 2

Char­ac­ter: Hamlet

Age: 20s-30s

Play:  HAMLET

Scene: Act I Scene 2

Brief Syn­op­sis: At the begin­ning of this play, the ghost of the pre­vi­ous King of Den­mark (Hamlet’s father) appears and tells Hamlet to avenge his untimely death due to his broth­er (Claudi­us, Hamlet’s Uncle) pois­on­ing him to take his crown and wife. In this scene, Hamlet has just seen his Uncle, Claudi­us, giving speeches as the king and his mother hap­pily sup­port­ing Claudi­us as his new wife. Yet it has only been two months since the king (his father) died.

Speech:

O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Ever­last­ing had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprof­it­able
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on’t! ah, fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Pos­sess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead! Nay, not so much, not two.
So excel­lent a king, that was to this
Hyper­ion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remem­ber? Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appet­ite had grown
By what it fed on; and yet, within a month-
Let me not think on’t! Frailty, thy name is woman!-
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she fol­lowed my poor father­’s body
Like Niobe, all tears- why she, even she
(O God! a beast that wants dis­course of reason
Would have mourn’d longer) mar­ried with my uncle;
My father­’s broth­er, but no more like my father
Than I to Her­cules. Within a month,
Ere yet the salt of most unright­eous tears
Had left the flush­ing in her galled eyes,
She mar­ried. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dex­ter­ity to inces­tu­ous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good.
But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue!

 

Iago — OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE — Act II Scene 1

Char­ac­ter: Iago

Age: 28

Play: OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE

Scene: Act II Scene 1

Brief Syn­op­sis: Oth­ello, a Chris­tain Moor, has been pro­moted to gen­er­al and sent to Cyprus to com­mand the armies there. His second-in-com­mand, Iago, is jeal­ous of this pro­mo­tion and works out a cun­ning revenge through­out the play. Before leav­ing for Cyprus, Oth­ello had won the heart of Des­de­mona, the beau­ti­ful daugh­ter of a Vene­tian sen­at­or, and mar­ried her. Both she and her attend­ant- Iago’s wife (Emilia), come with Oth­ello and Iago to Cyprus. Iago then plans ways to plant jeal­ous sus­pi­cion in the mind of Oth­ello, making him believe Des­de­mona is an adul­teress, lead­ing Oth­ello to kill his own wife.

Speech:
That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, ’tis apt and of great credit:
The Moor, how­beit that I endure him not,
Is of a con­stant, loving, noble nature,
And I dare think he’ll prove to Des­de­mona
A most dear hus­band. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of abso­lute lust, though perad­ven­ture
I stand account­ant for as great a sin,
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do sus­pect the lusty Moor
Hath leap’d into my seat; the thought where­of
Doth, like a pois­on­ous min­er­al, gnaw my inwards;
And noth­ing can or shall con­tent my soul
Till I am even’d with him, wife for wife,
Or fail­ing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jeal­ousy so strong
That judg­ment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
For his quick hunt­ing, stand the put­ting on,
I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb—
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too—
Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
For making him egre­giously an ass
And prac­tising upon his peace and quiet
Even to mad­ness. ‘Tis here, but yet con­fused:
Knavery’s plain face is never seen till us’d.