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Previous Page 1
Act 1, Scene 1
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ACT 1
Scene 1

Enter Flavius, Marullus, and certain Commoners,
[including a Carpenter and a Cobbler,] over the stage.

FLAVIUS
    Hence! Home, you idle creatures, get you home!
    Is this a holiday? What, know you not,
    Being mechanical, you ought not walk
    Upon a laboring day without the sign
    Of your profession?--Speak, what trade art thou?  [5]

CARPENTER
    Why, sir, a carpenter.

MARULLUS
    Where is thy leather apron and thy rule?
    What dost thou with thy best apparel on?--
    You, sir, what trade are you?

COBBLER
    Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am  [10]
    but, as you would say, a cobbler.

MARULLUS
    But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.

COBBLER
    A trade, sir, that I hope I may use, with a safe
    conscience, which is indeed, sir, a mender of bad
    soles.  [15]

FLAVIUS
    What trade, thou knave? Thou naughty knave, what
        trade?

COBBLER
    Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me.




L to R: Julius Caesar and Marcus Junius Brutus, the two towering figures in this play.
After Peter Paul Rubens, Twelve Famous Greek and Roman Men, 1630s. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Note the laurel wreath on Caesar's head, signifying war victory. His most recent win, a civil-war victory in a fight against the Roman leader Pompey, is celebrated in this scene by some, but not all Romans, introducing the conflict that pervades the play.
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