Tuesday, January 8, 2013


A dramatic monologue is an uninterrupted speech (in present time) made by a character that is speaking with the hope or intention of bringing about some change in his/her circumstances, usually by effecting some change in the character or characters to whom he/she is speaking. A monologue differs from a soliloquy in that a soliloquy is quite literally the character talking to him/herself. It is, quite literally, the expression of the character’s inner thoughts and feelings.

In a dramatic monologue, the character that is speaking is wrestling with a problem that threatens - or has the potential to threaten - the speaker’s well-being or the well-being of someone or something that the speaker cares about, and there is at least one other character, present in the scene, to whom the monologue is addressed.

By definition, the dramatic monologue involves an intensification of feeling that is akin to its musical cousin, the operatic aria; A monologue’s appropriateness is determined by the circumstances in which the monologue character finds him/herself. The outpouring of feeling and its meaning resides in the appropriateness of the feeling as well as the degree of the intensity of expression given the circumstances and context in which it is uttered. Any outpouring of uninterrupted feeling must be clearly motivated and the emotional energy evidenced must seem apt and logical in terms of what has preceded it as well as what follows.

Fundamentally, a dramatic monologue should advance the story or narrative either by clarifying the speaker’s intentions or beliefs or by altering the relative emotional positions of the characters to one another and to the objectives that each is pursuing, or both.

An effective monologue will also reveal information about the speaker’s internal state of mind.

A dramatic monologue is often the most natural and emotionally logical response a character can have when faced with an extreme crisis or challenged by a “do-or-die” situation in which action can no longer suitably convey the immensity of what the character is grappling with.

In every effective monologue, the speaker is driven by an agenda in pursuit of a goal. Something is at stake, and what is said is to serve some purpose. The speech is not made merely to relate a story for the story’s sake, but to show or persuade in order that the speaker’s objective is not lost or confused. In other words, the speaker speaks in order to transform the circumstances under which he/she is operating and/or suffering, with the hope of enlisting the support, inducing the commitment, or changing the hearts and minds of those to whom he/she is speaking.


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