Monologue (Lat. monologos: speaking alone) is a literary device in plays, movies, and other arts where a characters gives a speech to a specific crowd or to another character. In modern day, monologues are used as comic speeches whereas writers like Shakespeare used it with different concerns, mainly increasing the effect of the dramatic theme.
Monologues in ShakespeareEdit
Here's the famous monologue of Prince Hamlet in Hamlet:
- HAMLET: 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. To die, to sleep--
- No more--and by a sleep to say we end
- The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
- That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
- Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--
- To sleep--perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
- For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
- When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
- Must give us pause. There's the respect
- That makes calamity of so long life.
- For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
- Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely
- The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
- The insolence of office, and the spurns
- That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
- When he himself might his quietus make
- With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
- To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
- But that the dread of something after death,
- The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
- No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
- And makes us rather bear those ills we have
- Than fly to others that we know not of?
- Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
- And thus the native hue of resolution
- Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
- And enterprise of great pitch and moment
- With this regard their currents turn awry
- And lose the name of action. -- Soft you now,
- The fair Ophelia! -- Nymph, in thy orisons
- Be all my sins remembered.
Difference between Monologue, Dialogue and SoliloquyEdit
It is often confusing to recognize pieces of speeches as monologues, dialogues and soliloquys. Dialogs are easier to recognize, since it is simply the conversation between two characters. Main difference between a monologue and a soliloquy is that in a soliloquy, speech is not directed to a character, it is between the character and audience, and it is a frozen frame of time. However, in a monologue, speech is not directed to the audience but to the other characters, and play continues in the background. That's why, Shakespeare's character's speeches are often confused whether they are monologues or soliloquys, because Shakespeare's scene directions are unknown in some places.