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What is the definition of monologue?

The definition of a monologue is a passage in a literary work in which a solitary character speaks.


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Last Updated May 25, 2023.

A monologue is a text or passage of a text which solely conveys the speech of a single character or speaker. 


A monologue differs from a soliloquy in that soliloquies occur when a character is voicing their thoughts alone. In contrast, a monologue is spoken directly to other characters. For example, a monologue can take the form of a particularly long speech by one character within a conversation they are having with another character. 


Monologue derives from the Greek word monologos, meaning “speaking alone, speaking to oneself,” from monos (“alone”) and logos (“word, speech”). 


Here is a good example of a monologue from T.S. Eliot's “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

And indeed there will be time

To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

Time to turn back and descend the stair,

With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —

(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)

My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,

My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —

(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)

Do I dare

Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

see: interior monologuesoliloquy 

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