All terms

What is a Monologue?

A long speech given by one person.

Talking to Yourself: The Art of the Monologue in Creative Writing

In creative writing, a monologue is a long speech given by one character. Similar to a soliloquy, which is a speech given by a character alone on stage, a monologue can be delivered to an audience or another character. Monologues can be used to reveal a character's inner thoughts and motivations, as well as to advance the plot or theme of a story.

The term 'monologue' comes from the Greek words 'monos', meaning 'single' and 'logos', meaning 'speech'. In literature and theater, monologues have been used since ancient times to convey emotions and ideas. Creative writers today often use monologues in plays, screenplays, and novels to convey important information about a character, reveal conflicts, and create tension.

When writing a monologue, it's important to consider the character's voice, purpose, and tone. A monologue should sound natural and believable, with a clear sense of the character's personality and point of view. It should also be engaging and hold the reader's attention. Whether serious or humorous, a well-written monologue can be a powerful tool in a writer's arsenal.

Exploring the Monologue in Literature: Two Examples

The monologue is a powerful tool in literature for conveying a character's thoughts and emotions. Here are two famous examples:

Hamlet's Soliloquy

In Act III, Scene I of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the titular character delivers a powerful soliloquy, beginning with the famous lines: 'To be or not to be, that is the question'. Through this monologue, the audience gains insight into Hamlet's inner turmoil and his contemplation of suicide.

Holden Caulfield's Outburst

In J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield delivers a memorable monologue during a conversation with his sister, Phoebe. He expresses his frustration with the world and his desire to protect the innocence of children, concluding with the line: 'Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.'