Search Menu

Original Text

Modern Text

Rome. A street.
A street in Rome.
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons
A mob of angry Citizens enters. They are carrying staffs, clubs, and other weapons.

FIRST CITIZEN
Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
FIRST CITIZEN
Before we go any further, listen to me.

ALL
Speak, speak.
ALL
Speak, speak.

FIRST CITIZEN
You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?
FIRST CITIZEN
Are you all certain that you’d rather die fighting than starve to death?

ALL
Resolved. resolved.
ALL
Yes, we’re certain.

5
FIRST CITIZEN
First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people.
FIRST CITIZEN
As you know, Caius Martius is our chief enemy.

ALL
We know’t, we know’t.
ALL
Yes, we know.


FIRST CITIZEN
Let us kill him, and we’ll have corn at our own price.
Is’t a verdict?
FIRST CITIZEN
Let’s kill him, so we can sell our corn at the price we choose. Are we agreed?

ALL
No more talking on’t; let it be done: away, away!
ALL
No need to talk about this anymore—let’s do it. Let’s go.

10
FIRST CITIZEN
One word, good citizens.
FIRST CITIZEN
May I speak, good citizens?





15




20
FIRST CITIZEN
We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good.
What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they
would yield us but the superfluity, while it were
wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely;
but they think we are too dear: the leanness that
afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
inventory to particularise their abundance; our
sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with
our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I
speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
FIRST CITIZEN
We’re poor. The nobles are rich. The nobles have so much to eat that they overindulge and get sick, but if they’d only give us their excess food, we wouldn’t be starving any longer. We’d think they were compassionate if they helped us, but they think we’re too expensive to feed and don’t deserve to eat. They look at our thin, starving bodies and see them as a measure of their own abundance. Our suffering shows them how much they have. Let’s seek revenge with our pitchforks before we become as thin as rakes. The gods know I only say this because I’m hungry for bread, not thirsty for revenge.

FIRST CITIZEN
Would you proceed especially against Caius Martius?
FIRST CITIZEN
Would you attack Caius Martius in particular?