Dramatic Monologue – A Form of Poetry .

Monologue is made up of two Greek words ” μόνος mónos,” which means “alone, solitary” and λόγος lógos, “speech”

In general the term monologue means a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their thoughts aboud.

It is a speech given by a single character in a story. In drama, it is the vocalization of a character’s thoughts; in literature, the verbalization. It is traditionally a device used in theater—a speech to be given on stage.

There are different types of Monologue:

1. Dramatic monologue,
2. Soliloquy,
3. Interior monologue,

What is a dramatic monologue?

Dramatic monologue refers to a type of poetry. It is a type of poetry written in the form of a speech of an individual character.

These poems are dramatic in the sense that they have a theatrical quality; that is, the poem is meant to be read to an audience.
It is a literary form where the writer takes on the voice of a character and speaks through them.

Although dramatic monologues are found in theater and prose, the term most frequently refers to a poetic form where the poet creates a character who expresses a point of view or the main subject matter .

A dramatic monologue is also called a personal poem.
The character speaking in the poem is referred to as a “persona.”

Dramatic monologues can be told by a period , animals, objects, places, or abstract concepts like fate , love , etc.

M.H. Abrams notes the following three features of the dramatic monologue :-

• The single person, who is patently not the poet, utters the speech that makes up the whole of the poem, in a specific situation at a critical moment.

• This person addresses and interacts with one or more other people; but we know of the auditors’ presence, and what they say and do, only from clues in the discourse of the single speaker.

• The main principle controlling the poet’s choice and formulation of what the lyric speaker says is to reveal to the reader, in a way that enhances its interest, the speaker’s temperament and character.

Dramatic monologue was invented and practiced by Robert Browning followed by many famous poets like Alfred Tennyson , Dante , T. S Elliot and other Victorian poets .

The form remained popular in the 19 th and 20th century. The Victorian period represented the high point of the dramatic monologue in English poetry.

Robert Browning produced his most famous work in this form of dramatic monologue “My Last Duchess” which is quite famous till date .Browning’s poem “My Last Duchess” was one of the first dramatic monologues of the Victorian era.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses, published in 1842, was a remarkable dramatic monologue in English literature during the Victorian era .

In the Modernist era, poets like T.. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound wrote persona poems
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S Elliot being one the most famous works as a dramatic monologue.

With the prevailing trend of confessionalism in poetry, during 1950s and 1960s, great poet like Gwendolyn Brooks, John Berryman, and Sylvia Plath all made notable contributions by writing dramatic monologues that grappled with subjects like the African American urban experience, mental illness, addiction, and suicidal ideation.


Types of Dramatic monologue

Dramatic monologues can be categorised in three ways :-

Romantic monologues

Poems where a character speaks about a romantic relationship, either past, current, or desired is called a romantic monologue .

For example,
Dilemma” by Anthony Hecht is a romantic monologue.

Conversational Monologue

Conversational monologues are poems where the dramatic monologue is presented by the speaker as if it is part of a conversation.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Eolian Harp” is one example.
Philosophical Monologue

Philosophical monologues are poems where the character explicates their personal philosophy or theories about the world.

“Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth is one example of a philosophical monologue.


The dramatic monologue was written in the voice of a fictional character, the form sometimes makes use of a character who is already well-known so the poet can explore larger themes.
Use of dramatic monologues made the poet write about situations and subject matter that is not taken from their own lives.

Dramatic monologues are a way of expressing the view of a character and offering the audience greater insight into the character’s feelings .
Dramatic monologue was a famous form to write poetry because of its powerful way to create narrative tension as the speaker reveals crucial information to the reader in a way that allows the reader to feel the real emotions . ___________________________________________

Referral link :-How to write dramatic monologue (tips)