What Is A Dramatic Monologue?


5 Answers

Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
A monologue consists of a single person speaking to themselves or to an audience. A dramatic monologue is a literary form, usually a poem, in which you have one person, speaking to an audience or "thinking aloud," who is clearly a character and not the poet. Perhaps the greatest creator of dramatic monologues was Robert Browning. His poem "My Last Duchess," (1842) is a monologue in which a medieval Duke tells a visitor (who never speaks) how he had his wife murdered because her manners were too friendly. ("O Sir, she smiled, no doubt/ Whene'er I passed her: but who passed without/ Much the same smile?" The Duke clearly expects his visitor (and us) to believe that this is grounds for murder; Browning makes it equally clear that he is, to say the least, wrong. This is the hallmark of dramatic monologue: the speaker reveals his/her character and motives to the reader, while remaining unaware that he is doing so.
A good contemporary example of a prose dramatic monologue is Alan Bennett's 1980s and 1990s "Talking Heads" plays, which employ much the same techniques as Browning uses.
Gina Profile
Gina answered
A dramatic monologue is when a character is speaking to an audience about a major turning point in his life or about some great philosophical inquiry. And example of a great dramatic monologue comes from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" where Hamlet is troubled by his inability to choose to act or not act.
This the the "To be or Not to Be, that is the question? Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?" This monologue that is one of the greatest in literature. Although I am using a play to illustrate a dramatic monologue, it is a good example of the power of this type of literary devise. In poetry, a dramatic monologue would be best illustrated by Browning in "My Last Duchess". Here the poem gives us an idea that the character speaking in the poem actually murdered his "easily impressed" duchess.
"A heart---how shall I say?---too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whatever She looked on, and her looks went everywhere."
This poem is a fascinating account of a man looking at a painting of his beloved with nothing but disdain for her, yet admiring her beauty nonetheless.
Tamalika Mukherjee Profile
It is a literary work which consists of a revealing one-way conversation by a character or a persona usually directed to a second person or an imaginary audience.It typically involves a critical moment of a specific situation with the speaker's words unintentionally revealing his character.Eg.Tennyson's 'Ullysses','Tithonus'.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
A dramatic monologue is a piece of spoken verse which gives you great detail about the characters feelings.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The 'To be or not to be...' quote from Hamlet would fall under the label of soliloquy, rather than dramatic monologue. True, he is the only speaker, but it is merely a small segment of a larger play. A dramatic monologue takes place when a single character acts as the sole speaker for the entire length of the piece. The use of the word 'character' is important, as the speaker within the monologue will be an assumed character and not the poet him/her-self, which would be a lyrical poem/lyrical ballad. Wordsworth's 'Daffodils' or 'I wandered lonely as a cloud...' could be considered a lyrical poem as the 'I' in question could be interpreted as Wordsworth himself; Browning's 'My Last Duchess', however, is unquestionably a dramatic monologue as the poem's speaker is the character of the Duke.

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