In theater , a monologue (from Greek : μονόλογος , from μόνος mónos , “alone, solitary” and λόγος lógos , “speech”) is a speech presented by a single character , most often to express their mental thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience . Monologues are common across the range of dramatic media ( plays , movies , [1] etc.), as well as non-dramatic media such as poetry . [2] Monologues share much in common with several other literary devicessoliloquies , apostrophes , and aside . There are, however, distinctions between each of these devices.

Similar literary devices

Monologues are similar to poems , epiphanies, and others, in which they involve one another. For example, a soliloquy involves a character relating to one’s own feelings and feelings to one’s self. A monologue is the thoughts of a person spoken out loud. [3] Monologues are also distinct from apostrophes, in which the speaker or writer addresses an imaginary person, inanimate object, or idea. [4] Asides Differ from Each of These not only in length (asides are go short) goal aussi fait que asides are Not Heard by other characters Even In situations Where They Logically shoulds be (eg two characters Engaging in a dialogueinterrupted by one of them delivering an aside). [4]


In ancient Greek theater, the origin of the western drama, citation needed ] the actor ruled by a two actor rule, which was itself preceded by a convention in which a single actor would appear on stage, along with the chorus . [5] The origin of the monologue has a dramatic device, therefore, is not rooted in dialogue. It is, instead, the other way around; dialogue evolved from monologue.

Ancient Roman Theater featured monologues extensively, more than ever, or Ancient Greek theater or modern theater. [6] One of the key purposes of these monologues was within the range of significant amounts of time within the context of scenes. This type of monologue is referred to as a monologue linking. [7] Other monologue types included “entrance monologues” [7] and exit monologues. [8] In each of these cases, a primary function is indicative of the passage of time. [7]

From Renaissance Theater onward, monologues Postmodern theater, on the other hand, often embraces the performative aspects of the monologue, even to the point of challenging the boundary between character portrayal (eg acting) and autobiographical speeches. [9]


Interior monologues involve a character externalizing their thoughts so that the audience can witness experiences that would otherwise be mostly internal. In contrast, a dramatic monologue involves one character speaking to another character. [10] Monologues can also be divided along the lines of active and narrative monologues. In an active monologue a character is using their speech to achieve a clear goal. Narrative monologues simply involve a character telling a story and can often be identified by the fact that they are in the past tense. [11]


Actors in theater, and sometimes in film and television, may be called upon to use monologues for audition purposes. Audition monologues perform an actor’s ability to prepare a piece and deliver a performance. [12] These pieces are usually relegated to two minutes (sometimes less) and are often paired with a contrasting monologue. This is a comic monologue with a dramatic monologue or it can mean classical paired with contemporary. The choice of monologues for an audition can often depend on the question or the role of the actor wants to land. The audition monologue is a rite of passage with actors and a tradition that continues today.

See also

  • Dramatic monologue
  • One-person show
  • Oratory
  • Performance poetry
  • Rhetoric
  • Stand-up comedy
  • storytelling
  • fortune
  • Spoken word


  1. Jump up^
  2. Jump up^ “Dramatic Monologue: An Introduction” . 2003-03-10. Retrieved 2013-08-16 .
  3. Jump up^ “Soliloquy – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary” . . Retrieved 2013-08-16 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:b “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare” . . Retrieved 2013-08-16 .
  5. Jump up^ Kuritz, Paul (1988). The Making of Theater History . ISBN  978-0-13-547861-5 . Retrieved 27 May 2014 .
  6. Jump up^ Henry W. Prescott (January 1939). “Monologues Link in Roman Comedy”. Classical Philology . 34 (1): 1-23. JSTOR  264065 .
  7. ^ Jump up to:c Henry W. Prescott (April 1939). “Monologues Link in Roman Comedy”. Classical Philology . 34 (2): 116-126. JSTOR  264823 .
  8. Jump up^ Henry W. Prescott (January 1942). “Exit Monologues in Roman Comedy”. Classical Philology . 37 (1): 1-21. JSTOR  264367 .
  9. Jump up^ Geis, Deborah R. (December 1993). Postmodern theatric (k) s: monologue in contemporary American drama . University of Michigan Press . ISBN  978-0-472-10467-3 . Retrieved 27 May 2014 .
  10. Jump up^ “monologue (drama and literature) – Encyclopædia Britannica” . . Retrieved 2013-08-16 .
  11. Jump up^ “Monologue Information” . . Retrieved 2013-08-16 .
  12. Jump up^ “Audition Monologues” . Ace Your Audition .