Dramatic Monologue

Pronunciation: listen

Definition

A dramatic monologue is a poem that shares many features with a speech from a play: one person speaks, and in that speech there are clues to his/her character, the character of the implied person or people that s/he is speaking to, the situation in which it is spoken and the story that has led to this situation. Ian Duhig's 'Fundamentals', for example, gives plenty of information about the character of the hapless missionary, about the tone of the meeting, and the colonial violence that underpins what is on face value a message of religion. The effect is one of a small poem seeming to leave you with the experience of having seen the whole film that was packed tightly into it.

How to use this term

Elizabeth Bartlett's 'Enemies' brings the awful effects of war on innocents into sharp focus through presenting those effects in a dramatic monlogue, spoken by a small girl who has suffered them.
 

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