What is a good example of a monologue, a soliloquy, and an aside in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Expert Answers
iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Below, you'll find some examples of a monologue, a soliloquy, and an aside in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream:

  1. Monologue: At its simplest, a monologue is an individual speech delivered by an actor. Monologues serve many purposes within a play, often providing exposition, analysis of the action, and more. A classic example of a monologue in A Midsummer Night's Dream is Puck's "I am that merry wanderer" speech (Act 2, Scene 1, 42-58). In this monologue, Puck affirms his reputation as a merry prankster, describing his various, mischievous adventures. This monologue is important, as its primary purpose is to illustrate Puck's impish character.
  2. Soliloquy: A soliloquy is a type of monologue in which the actor is either alone, or believes himself or herself to be alone. Generally, a soliloquy provides a character's intimate thoughts and illustrates inner emotions and feelings kept secret from the other characters. Act 1, Scene 1 of Dream ends with the excellent "How happy some o'er other some can be" soliloquy (226-251), in which Helena muses on the luckiness of Hermia, who has secured Demetrius' love, and on the fickle nature of love in general. This soliloquy gives us an insight into Helena's inner turmoil as she pines after a man who does not love her.
  3. Aside: An aside is a portion of speech spoken by a character that is not intended to be heard by other characters on the stage. Generally, the character says his or her private thoughts in an effort to explain his or her motives or actions. Though it is not specifically marked as such, we can assume Puck's incursion into the rude mechanicals' practice in Act 3, Scene 1, is an aside: "What hempen homespuns have we here swagg'ring here,/ So near the cradle of the Fairy Queen?/ What, a play toward! I'll be an auditor;/ An actor too perhaps, if I see cause" (68-71). In this short section, Puck speaks aloud his thoughts, but his speech is not heard by the other characters. Instead, Puck's dialogue is meant to explain the imp's actions and thoughts to the audience. As such, we can classify this tiny speech as an aside. 
Read the study guide:
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question