The UVic Writer's Guide


In a soliloquy, one speaks to oneself. In drama, soliloquy is the convention whereby characters speak their thoughts aloud while alone, thus communicating to the audience their mental state, intentions, and motives (as in Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy).

Similar to the solilquy is the aside, a convention for expressing characters' minds. It is a short remark made in the presence of others but which only the audience is privy to. The aside is often used to show duplicity or hypocrisy in great detail, as when Iago comments on his deception of Othello. The aside fell out of fashion in the nineteenth century with the greater demand for realism in drama, but has been restored in some modern non-naturalistic drama.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 23, 1995