Dramatic Monologue: Definition and Examples

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      Monologue comes from Greek word monos means ‘alone’ and logos means ‘speech’. It is a literary device, which is the speech or verbal presentation that a single character presents in order to express his/her collection of thoughts and ideas aloud. Often this character addresses directly to audience or another character. Monologues are found in the dramatic medium like films, plays and also in non-dramatic medium such as poetry.

      Dramatic Monologue refers to a type of poetry, which is dramatic in the sense that it has a theatrical quality; that is, the poem is meant to be read to an audience. To say that the poem is a monologue means that these are the words of one solitary speaker with no dialogue coming from any other characters. Think of one person standing alone on a stage speaking to an audience. Certainly, you are part of that audience, but the poem usually implies that the speaker is mainly talking to a specific person(s). The reason poets choose to write poems like this is to express a point of view through the words of a character. However, the tricky part is that often the opinions stated by that character are not the same as the views of the poet. Most of the time, the speaker is trying to convince someone of something, and may or may not be telling the whole truth.

      Browning’s My Last Duchess is a good instance of dramatic monologue, where the Duke shows the picture of his last wife to the emissary from his prospective new wife and reveals his excessive pride in his position
and his jealous temperament. In Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway, she has presented her characters by using the technique of stream of consciousness or interior monologue. The consciousness of characters moves backward and forward. Author has molded and shaped their personalities at critical moments by interior monologue. Her particular deployment of this technique consists of authorial interjections to provide guidance to the readers and give shape to the narrative.

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