Skip to main content
Shakespeare & Beyond

Order It: Mark Antony's "Friends, Romans, countrymen"

Maurice Jones (Mark Antony), Julius Caesar, directed by Robert Richmond, Folger Theatre, 2014. Photo by Teresa Wood.

It’s often said that Shakespeare has a special appeal to audiences in Washington, DC, where the Folger Shakespeare Library is located, because of his handling of political subjects, among many other topics. Certainly, one of Shakespeare’s famous speeches from the plays is a brilliant piece of political oratory by Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, which begins “Friends, Romans, countrymen.”

Antony is a friend of Caesar, who has just been assassinated, and he speaks, with the permission of the assassins, after one of them, Brutus, has made the case for Caesar’s death. At first it seems that Antony is accepting that view and is simply praising his lost friend, but during his speech, the views of the crowd change. Later in the scene, Antony also shares Caesar’s will (above). In our quiz, can you rearrange the lines in Antony’s speech?