A monologue from the play by Romain Rolland

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Fourteenth of July and Danton. Trans. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1918.
  • MARAT: I care nothing for the howling of these traitors, these accomplices of famine and servitude! They rob you of what money you have left; they drain your strength with their women, and your good sense with liquor! Fools! And you put yourselves in their clutches, and blurt out your secrets to them! You give yourselves into the hands of the enemy. Behind each pillar, at the corner of each cafĂ©, beside you, at your table, a spy listens to you, watches you, takes down what you say, and prepares your destruction. You who want to be free, leave this sink of vice! Before entering the supreme struggle, begin by counting your forces. Where are your weapons? You have none. Forge your pikes, I tell you, make your muskets! Where are your friends? You have none. Your own neighbor betrays you. Perhaps the man you shake hands with, is delivering you into the hands of the enemy. And you yourselves, are you sure of yourselves? You are at war with corruption, and you are corrupted. [Howls from the crowd.] You protest? If the aristocracy offered you gold and food, do you dare swear that you would not become aristocrats yourselves? You cannot silence me with your protestations. You will hear the truth. You are too accustomed to flatterers who court your favor and betray you. You are vain, proud, frivolous: you have neither strength, character, nor virtue. You waste your strength in talk. You are effeminate, vacillating, will-less; you tremble at the sight of a musket. You shout "Enough!" I, too, and even longer: Enough of vice, enough of stupidity, enough of cowardice! Band yourselves together, strike from your midst all who are false to the cause, purify your minds, and gird your loins. Oh, my fellow citizens, I tell you these truths a little harshly, perhaps, but it is because I love you!