SHAKESPEARE 400 | THE COBBLER

Models of Ancient Roman Sandals. 1675 - 79 | detail
Joachim Von Sandrart. German 1606-1688. Engraving.

From:
William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
[The Modern Library, New York - Edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen - 2011]

MURELLUS
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 but, as you would say, a cobbler.

MURELLUS
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.



Models of Ancient Roman Sandals. 1675 - 79 | detail
Joachim Von Sandrart. German 1606-1688. Engraving.


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

COBBLER
Nay, I beseech you, sir, be not out with me. Yet, if you be out, sir, I can mend you.

MURELLUS
What mean’st thou by that? “Mend” me, thou saucy fellow?

COBBLER
Why, sir, cobble you.

FLAVIUS
Thou art a cobbler, art thou?

COBBLER
Truly, sir, all that I live by is with the awl. I meddle with no tradesman’s matters nor women’s matters, but withal I am indeed, sir, a surgeon to old shoes. When they are in great danger, I recover them. As proper men as ever trod upon neat’s leather have gone upon my handiwork.

FLAVIUS
But wherefore art not in thy shop today?
Why dost thou lead these men about the streets?

COBBLER
Truly, sir, to wear out their shoes to get myself into more work. But indeed, sir, we make holiday to see Caesar and to rejoice in his triumph.



1953 | Julius Caesar directed by Joseph .L. Mankiewicz (MGM)
Starring Marlon Brando as Mark Antony
Source: Histolines


FOOTNOTE

The cobbler appears in the first scene in the play. His function is to annoy Flavius and Marullus, who are not at all pleased that Julius Caesar is returning to Rome after defeating Pompey’s army.

From: Identify And Explain The Cobbler's Puns


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