What Is a Monologue? Definition & 30+ Examples

Have you ever found yourself captivated by a character’s impassioned speech, hanging onto every word as they unravel their thoughts and emotions? Welcome to the world of monologues!

A monologue allows a single voice to captivate, challenge, and connect with others, often revealing the depths of one’s soul. From stage to screen, these powerful solo performances offer a unique window into the human soul, expressing an individual’s deepest emotions, fears, and desires.

So, come along as we celebrate the resilience, creativity, and transformative power of the monologue.

Defining Monologue

A monologue is a speech or verbal presentation given by a single individual, often in a conversational or reflective manner, without interruption or dialogue from others.

Monologues can occur in various contexts, such as theater performances, films, public speaking events, and even casual conversations. Monologues can serve different purposes, including sharing thoughts, emotions, or viewpoints on a particular topic.

To better understand the concept of monologues, given below are a few unique examples:

  • Example 1: A character in a play speaking to themselves while standing near a cliff, reflecting on their life choices and how they led to the current situation.
  • Example 2: A stand-up comedian loves their city but is also critical of its political and social issues, using a monologue to unpack their experiences living in the city while adding a comedic spin to it.
  • Example 3: A college student recording a video blog entry in which they discuss their goals, aspirations, and plans for the future without any dialogue interruptions.

Types of Monologues


A soliloquy is a type of monologue in which a character, often alone on stage, expresses their thoughts and emotions to the audience. It allows the audience to gain insight into the character’s internal conflicts and motivations.


“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.”

– William Shakespeare’s play, “Hamlet.”

Internal Monologues

Internal monologues occur when a character verbalizes their thoughts to themselves, often reflecting on their feelings, observations, or plans. Internal monologues can also be presented in written form, such as in novels or short stories.


“I could feel the cold, biting air on my face as I walked through the dark forest. If only I had listened to my gut and stayed home. But now, here I was, lost and alone.”

This example depicts the internal thought process of a character in a fictional narrative.

Dramatic Monologues

Dramatic monologues are monologues in which a character addresses a silent listener or the audience, revealing their inner conflicts, desires, or motivations. This type of monologue often portrays the character’s emotional state and perspective on a particular situation.


“You don’t understand just how difficult it is for me to open up. I’ve been through this before, and I’ve had my heart broken in the worst possible way. But for some reason, when I’m around you, I feel like I can trust you. And that scares me.”

This example illustrates a dramatic monologue from a character facing their fears in a relationship.

Functions of Monologue

Monologues serve various purposes in everyday life, from character development to communicating emotions and revealing motivations. Let’s explore each of these functions in more detail.

Character Development

Monologues can be an effective tool for developing a person’s character, whether in real life or fictional settings. They provide insight into an individual’s thought process and allow others to understand their perspectives and experiences. Here are some examples:

  • A student’s monologue about the challenges they face balancing school, work, and social life, highlighting their determination and resilience.
  • A fictional character’s internal monologue reflecting on their past actions and decisions that shaped their current beliefs and values.

Communicating Emotions

Monologues are often used as a way for people to express their emotions or convey their feelings. This can include a range of emotions, from happiness to sadness, anger to joy. Some examples include:

  • A person sharing a monologue about the excitement they feel for an upcoming event, such as a wedding, graduation, or vacation.
  • A character in a play delivering a monologue about their grief and sadness after experiencing a loss.

Revealing Motivations

Through monologues, individuals can showcase their motivations and reasons behind their actions or decisions. This can help listeners empathize and gain a better understanding of the speaker’s intentions. Here are some examples:

  • A parent explaining the reasons behind their decision to move the family to a new city, emphasizing their desire for a better education and opportunities for their children.
  • A employee providing a monologue to their colleagues about why they believe a specific project is essential for the company’s growth.

Examples of Monologues

There are various examples of monologues across different contexts, such as literature, film and television, and real-life situations. These examples will demonstrate the various ways monologues can be used to convey information, express emotions, and create captivating narratives.

Literary Examples

Monologues can often be found in novels, plays, and poetry. Here are a few examples:

  • “To be or not to be” – This famous monologue is from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. In this soliloquy, Hamlet contemplates the nature of life and death, discussing the pros and cons of each.
  • “All the world’s a stage” – Another Shakespearean monologue, this time from As You Like It. The character Jaques describes the various stages of life, comparing it to a performance in a theater.
  • “I wandered lonely as a cloud” – A lyrical monologue found in the poem Daffodils by William Wordsworth. This poem presents the speaker’s reflections on the beauty of nature and its ability to uplift the human spirit.

Film and Television Examples

Monologues are also common in film and television. The following examples showcase the diversity of monologues in visual media:

Film/TV ShowMonologue Example
13 Reasons WhyIn the first season, Clay Jensen listens to a series of tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, who explains in a monologue format the reasons that led her to take her own life. Each tape represents a separate monologue detailing her experiences and emotions.
Breaking BadWalter White delivers a chilling monologue in which he reveals his true identity as the notorious drug lord, Heisenberg.
JokerIn the climax of the film, Arthur Fleck delivers a powerful monologue on the Murray Franklin Show, expressing his frustration with society and the events that led to his transformation into the Joker.

Monologue in Everyday Life

Monologues are a normal part of our day-to-day lives and can be observed in various forms.


Monologues in conversations can be seen when one person dominates the dialogue, continuously speaking while others listen. This can happen during debates, storytelling, or simply when someone passionately shares their opinions or experiences. Here are some examples:

  • A friend passionately describes their recent travel adventures
  • A coworker explains how they solved a difficult problem at work
  • An eyewitness recounts a notable event that took place


Self-talk is an introspective form of monologue where we communicate with ourselves, either silently or aloud. It helps us analyze our thoughts, make decisions, and improve self-awareness. Examples of self-talk monologues include:

  • Thinking through a challenging task and listing the steps to complete it
  • Reflecting on one’s emotions and thoughts after an intense experience
  • Rehearsing a conversation with someone else in your mind

Presentations and Speeches

Presentations and speeches are other examples of monologues in everyday life. In these situations, one person speaks while others listen to convey information, persuade, or inspire. Some examples include:

  • A student delivering a presentation on a research topic.
  • A manager updating their team on new company policies.
  • An activist giving a speech during a rally or event.

Monologues are not just limited to fiction or literature; they can also be found in everyday life. More examples include:

  • Political speeches – Politicians often use monologues to express their views and persuade the public. Examples include Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
  • TED Talks – These popular lectures feature speakers discussing various topics in the form of a monologue, sharing their knowledge and ideas with the audience.
  • Personal storytelling – People may recount personal experiences or anecdotes in the form of a monologue, either informally to friends and family, or in more formal settings such as open mic nights or storytelling events.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Monologues

Effective Communication

Monologues can be a powerful tool for conveying information, opinions, and emotions to others.

For example, a teacher delivering a monologue to explain a complex topic may be able to engage the audience more effectively than by using a standard lecture format. This is because the monologue format allows the speaker to evoke emotions and build connections with their listeners.


Monologues can also serve as a platform for self-exploration, allowing individuals to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a concentrated and focused manner. By doing so, a person may gain insights into their own perspectives and beliefs.

An example of this might be someone writing a personal monologue to reflect on their experiences during a difficult period in their life.

Potential Miscommunication

Despite the benefits, monologues can sometimes lead to potential miscommunication. As the speaker is the sole source of information, there is a risk that their message may be misinterpreted or misunderstood by the audience.

For instance, an impassioned monologue on politics could lead to confusion if the speaker unintentionally uses ambiguous language or relies excessively on metaphor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a monologue be?

The length of a monologue can vary greatly depending on its purpose and context. In theater and film, monologues typically range from one to five minutes.

However, for auditions, a shorter monologue of around one to two minutes is often preferred. In literature, monologues can span several paragraphs or even pages, depending on the needs of the story.

Can a monologue be a dialogue?

By definition, a monologue is an extended speech by a single character, so it cannot be a dialogue, which involves a conversation between two or more characters.

However, a monologue can be part of a larger dialogue or conversation, with the character delivering the monologue speaking uninterrupted for a time before the conversation resumes.

Can I use a monologue as a writing exercise?

Absolutely! Writing monologues can be a valuable exercise for writers to develop character, voice, and storytelling skills. By crafting monologues, you can explore a character’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations, while experimenting with different narrative techniques and language styles.

Additionally, writing monologues can help you practice creating engaging, dynamic dialogue that reveals character and advances the plot.


Monologues are undeniably powerful tools in storytelling, allowing characters to reveal their innermost thoughts and emotions. From stirring soliloquies in Shakespearean plays to memorable moments in contemporary films and literature, monologues have stood the test of time as a testament to human expression.

We hope this exploration into the world of monologues has deepened your understanding and inspired you to seek out more examples. Perhaps you’ll even feel compelled to create your own monologue, giving voice to a character yearning to be heard.

Remember, a well-crafted monologue has the power to captivate and resonate with audiences for generations to come.

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Kyna is a writer and aspiring doctor. Besides writing, she likes discovering new music, immersing herself in interactive books, and engaging in multiplayer shooter games. She is passionate about chemistry, human biology, and pharmacology, and is always eager to learn more about these subjects.