Tag Archives: Dramatic Monologue

Dramatic Monologue in Poetry

25 Feb

A dramatic monologue is “a piece of performed writing that offers great insight into the speaker’s feelings.” The monologue is usually presented by the poet’s creation of a fictional character, more commonly called a “persona”. Usually, this persona expresses a point of view, based on existing knowledge from past experiences, not necessarily shared by the poet. The monologue gives insight into the poem via a specific excerpt. This form of poetry was very common during the Victorian era, for instance in Dover Beach, Ulysses and My Last Duchess. Robert Browning, the poet of My Last Duchess, is considered the “master” of this form of poetry.

In terms of how a dramatic monologue works, when the speaker is presenting his/her thoughts and feelings, what is not said is just as important as what is mentioned. The audience plays a great role in understanding the intended meaning of the poem by paying attention to what was not mentioned. Usually in such pieces of writing, the speaker deliberately omits analysis, and instead, emphasizes certain points to evoke certain feelings. In order to fully grasp the concept of the poem, one should consider the occasion, the targeted audience, the speaker’s state of mind, and what tactics the speaker uses to express his/her point.

In Summary:

  1. Performed Writing -> insight into the speakers feelings through the development of  a character or persona.
  2. What is NOT said -> like “reading between the lines”
  3. Usually just an excerpt rather than the whole poem. Is this true for My Last Duchess? ->One part gives insight, the rest is general
  4. Speaker and poets views are not shared.