What is a Monologue

Monologue is a defined as a speech conveyed by a single actor in a dramatic media, sometimes directed to other characters or the audience or sometimes alone. A monologue is common across all kinds of media, be it, a theatrical play or a movie. As the name itself suggests, a monologue literally means speaking alone. It is a French word which comes from Greek word ‘Monologos’, where mono means single, alone and logos means speech.

In a drama, there can be part with a single performer or there can be a long speech by a single performer in the play or film. A monologue is different from a soliloquy or an apostrophe.

Monologues have been popular since long time and effectively found in Shakespeare’s works. “To be or not to be” from his work Hamlet is perhaps the oldest and most famous monologue which everyone has heard of.  Monologue has different styles and can be used in many ways in a script. Monologues can be used when one character wants to express his innermost thoughts and he is seen expressing his feelings aloud with no other performer or actor on stage. This is called an interior monologue which makes the audience understands the characters’ actions and intentions later in the play or movie. Publicly also, a monologue can happen, where a character gives a long and complex speech to uplift the mood of others. 

Writing an effective monologue is as much a writer’s skill as performer’s ability to perform it. A powerfully written monologue can be very moving for the audience and they will be forced to cry or laugh alongwith the character. There are many famous Hollywood movie monologues, which, even after many years, are still remembered.

A monologue should be a complete story in itself with a beginning, body and an ending. The emotional pitch of the actor, the language used is very important for an effective monologue, which can engage the audience for the rest of the play or movie. The monologue though can be twenty minutes long, should be concise and to the point and should stick to a central point otherwise the audiences will loose interest. The more realistic the monologue is the more it will be appreciated. The monologue written for a character should be in line and consistent with personality in the film or play.

Monologues have many other uses for actors, writers. Most actors use great and complex monologues while giving auditions for roles in movies or plays to demonstrate their acting prowess. A good monologue can take the story forward.


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