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an extended speech by one person only. Strindberg's one-act play The Stronger, spoken entirely by one person, is an extreme example of monologue. Soliloquy is synonymous, but usually refers to a character in a play talking or thinking aloud to himself, giving the audience information essential to the plot. The most obvious example is Hamlet's "To be or not to be …" soliloquy. The dramatic monologue is a lyric poem in which one person speaks, reporting to a silent listener what other characters say and do, while providing insight into his own character, e.g., Browning's "My Last Duchess" and T. S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Interior monologue is a narrative technique meant to reproduce a character's thoughts, feelings, and associations in the untidy fashion in which they flow through the mind. The Molly Bloom section at the end of James Joyce's novel Ulysses is the most frequently cited example of perfect use of the device.



(soliloquy), a form of speech which, unlike the dialogue, is completely or almost completely disassociated in both content and structure from the speech of an interlocutor. Compared to the repartee of the dialogue, the monologue is much more conventional in the choice of linguistic, compositional, and other resources, and as a rule, it has a more complex syntax. Because the monologue is encountered extremely rarely in everyday communication, L. V. Shcherba suggests that historically it was derived from the dialogue.

Monologues are used primarily in literature, speechmaking, television and radio broadcasts, and the classroom (lectures). In its linguistic, structural, and compositional organization, the monologue is far more complex than other speech forms. Its special features are studied in textual linguistics, which deals with the problem of the complex syntactical whole, the paragraph, and so forth.

In literature and the theater the monologue may be pan of an artistic work or a genre in itself. On stage or in motion pictures, the monologue is addressed by a character either to himself or to the audience and is divorced from the dialogue of the other characters. Often, the monologue is used to express the hero’s lyrical, philosophical, intimate, or polemical outpourings or his personal beliefs (the famous “To be or not to be” of Shakespeare’s Hamlet or “I cannot come to, I’m wrong” of Griboedov’s Chatskii) or to present events that preceded the play’s action or that are taking place offstage.

The monologue is characteristic of classical, baroque, Renaissance, and Neoclassical drama. It is particularly common in romantic drama, and it is encountered in monodrama and in contemporary nonrealistic drama. A special form of monologue-confession or monologue-exhortation is the lyric poem, especially the subjective lyric, which directly communicates the poet’s feelings and experiences. Narrative genres are often in the form of monologues—for example, the short story written in the first person, including the skaz (a story narrated by a fictional person whose point of view and manner of speech—often substandard—differ from the author’s; in Russian literature, the form was used by N. Leskov and M. Zoshchenko). However, “alien” words (elements of parody and polemics) are often present in the monologic narrative, bringing it closer to dialogue. The “internal monologue” or “stream of consciousness” became an important means of psychological characterization in realistic literature at the turn of the 20th century.


Voloshinov, V. N. [With the participation of M. M. Bakhtin.] Marksizm i filosofiia iazyka, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1930.
Vol’kenshtein, V. Dramaturgiia. Moscow, 1969.
Bakhtin, M. M. “Slovo u Dostoevskogo.” In his book Problemy poetiki Dostoevskogo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Korman, B. O. “Chuzhoe soznanie v lirike…. “Izvestiia AN SSSR: Otdelenie literatury i iazyka, vol. 32, 1973, issue 3.


1. a long speech made by one actor in a play, film, etc., esp when alone
2. a dramatic piece for a single performer
References in periodicals archive ?
And when he is caught and put in prison his reflections in interior monologue express clearly his conviction that his destiny is in God's hands:
This mode is a form of interior monologue which introduces into the novel the subjectivity of the private experience, but not as direct self-narration (Cohn 115).
The rationalist view that the masters, the judges, and the newspaper reporters present never occupies an interior monologue, but remains bracketed within quotations and subordinated by "that" clauses.
Herman ranks the forms in the order (from backrounding to foregrounding): narratorial discourse, attributive discourse, DD, ID, interior monologue, FID, indefDD, indefID, PDD/TIM, and embedded forms.
Maudie's monologue did not survive, nor did the idea of dividing the novel into three sections prefaced by either a direct or an interior monologue.
Where Joyce's style is most analogous to wagner's musical practices, such passages of interior monologue and use of the leitmotif technique seem traceable first of all to literary sources, that is, to Edouard Dujardin and other writers who, unlike Joyce, acknowledged their debt to Wagner.
A vivid storyteller, Katin manages to capture interior monologue and external narrative seamlessly with deft and elegant strokes, both verbal and pictorial.
The students contented themselves with this, or discontented themselves, and Ashbery went on with his solemnly merry improvisations on the subject of a writing life, more or less reminiscing in interior monologue, leaving out only names, dates, and other identifying furniture of his life.
It's indicative of the recent Worcester transplant's work, creating a multi-textured portrait that links the poet's personal interior monologue with the outside world, reaching into history in science.
Among the mostly banal propositions, the most compelling was The Giant, 2009, a disturbing video by Mariana Castillo Deball in which captions on a static gray screen narrate the interior monologue of a hunter who inexplicably finds himself roasting and eating his own flesh down to the bones, instead of his kill.
Actor Rabih Mroueh (playing himself) recites to Catherine Deneuve (playing herself) the interior monologue.

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