• Rome. A street.
    Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.

    ALL

    Speak, speak.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?

    ALL

    Resolved. resolved.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    5First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people.

    ALL

    We know’t, we know’t.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Let us kill him, and we’ll have corn at our own price.
    Is’t a verdict?

    ALL

    No more talking on’t; let it be done: away, away!

    FIRST CITIZEN

    10One word, good citizens.

    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;
    15but 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
    20speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Would you proceed especially against Caius Martius?
  • A street in Rome.
    A mob of angry Citizens enters. They are carrying staffs, clubs, and other weapons.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Before we go any further, listen to me.

    ALL

    Speak, speak.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Are you all certain that you’d rather die fighting than starve to death?

    ALL

    Yes, we’re certain.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    As you know, Caius Martius is our chief enemy.

    ALL

    Yes, we know.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    Let’s kill him, so we can sell our corn at the price we choose. Are we agreed?

    ALL

    No need to talk about this anymore—let’s do it. Let’s go.

    FIRST CITIZEN

    May I speak, good citizens?

    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 attack Caius Martius in particular?