The UVic Writer's Guide

Dramatic Monologue

A dramatic monologue is a species of lyric poem in which the speaker is a persona created by the poet; the speaker's character is revealed unintentionally through his or her attitudes in the dramatic situation (compare soliloquy. In addition, the speaker may address and interact with silent auditors (see dramatic lyric ). Robert Browning's "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" (1842) and T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1918) are examples. Quoted below is an excerpt from Tennyson's "Ulysses" (1842), in which the aged voyager who once longed for his homecoming from Troy is now weary of idle comfort:

Come, my friends,
`Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated April 11, 1995