A Personal Anthology of Shakespeare, compiled by Martin Clifton cover

A Personal Anthology of Shakespeare, compiled by Martin Clifton

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

1. As You Like It (Act 2, Scene 7) : All the World’s a Stage
2. Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 3) : To Thine Own Self Be True
3. Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2) : What a Piece of Work Is Man
4. Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 1) : To Be or Not To Be
5. Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 2) : Speak the Speech
6. Julius Caesar (Act 1, Scene 2) : Bestrides the Narrow World
7. Julius Caesar (Act 3, Scene 2) : If You Have Tears Prepare To Shed Them Now
8. Julius Caesar (Act 3, Scene 2) : Friends, Romans, Countrymen
9. Julius Caesar (Act 3, Scene 2) : Let Me Not Stir You Up
10. Julius Caesar (Act 5, Scene 5) : This Was the Noblest Roman of Them All
11. King Henry V (Act 3, Scene 1) : Once More Unto the Breach
12. King Henry V (Act 4, Scene 3) : This Day is Called the Feast of Crispian
13. King Richard III (Act 1, Scene 1) : Now is the Winter of Our Discontent
14. Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 7) : If It Were Done
15. Macbeth (Act 2, Scene 1) : Is This a Dagger
16. The Merchant of Venice (Act 1, Scene 3) : Many a Time and Oft
17. The Merchant of Venice (Act 3, Scene 1) : If You Prick Us Do We Not Bleed
18. The Merchant of Venice (Act 4, Scene 1) : The Quality of Mercy
19. Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2) : What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks
20. Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2) : Romeo, Romeo

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This personal anthology is my choice of speeches from Shakespeare that I enjoy reading (that I would like to have had by heart years ago!) and that seem to me to illustrate his unsurpassed use of language. He was a man who seemed to know everything about human nature and as Orson Welles said ‘he speaks to everyone and we all claim him’. I know that it has been said that ‘it is impossible to be a great Shakespearian actor without an idiosyncratic and extraordinary voice’ and this may be so, but that does not preclude ordinary mortals from reading, hearing and enjoying Shakespeare.



- this anthology

Martin, thank you so very much for sharing some of the more familiar of WS's speeches.You've inspired me to listen to the play, Julius Caesar.