Monologue vs. Soliloquy vs. Aside: What Are the Differences? (2023)

Here are the differences between a monologue, soliloquy, and aside:

A monologue is a long uninterrupted speech that a character gives to another character.

A soliloquy is a long speech that a character gives to the audience to express their deepest thoughts and emotions.

An aside is directed at the audience too, but unlike a soliloquy, an aside is typically a quick comment.

If you want to know all about the differences between a monologue, soliloquy, and aside, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s dig right in!

Monologue vs. Soliloquy vs. Aside: What Are the Differences? (1)

What Are the Differences Between a Monologue, Soliloquy, and Aside?

Monologue vs. Soliloquy vs. Aside: What Are the Differences? (2)
Monologue Soliloquy Aside
DefinitionAn uninterrupted speech that’s spoken by only one character in a story or dramaA type of monologue that voices a character’s internal thoughts out loud Is a short speech or remark given by a character to express his or her inner thoughts to the audience
How it’s expressedWhen a single character speaks at (not conversing with) other charactersA single character speaks to himself (not to other characters) aloudA single character speaks briefly to himself or herself as if commenting on oneself
ScopeIs it a speech given by only one character with other characters?Is it a monologue not intended to be heard by other characters?Is it a brief speech or remark spoken out loud to the audience by a single character?
NatureAddressed to other characters on stage or on screenA long speech addressed to oneself (or audience)A short comment or a quick remark addressed to oneself (or audience)
SpecificityIt’s intended to be heard by other characters in the story or dramaIt’s not intended to be heard by other characters in the storyIt’s not intended to be heard by other characters in the story

Monologue, soliloquy, and aside are all speeches given by a single character, each for a different purpose and delivered in a different way.

Single-character speeches are a staple of theater, in particular, and variants of these techniques have been around as far back as Ancient Greece, in which the chorus often took on the earliest variants of the soliloquy and the aside.

In order to understand the importance of speeches in theater, we must first acknowledge the disadvantages of the medium that these speeches are meant to overcome.

Firstly, plays do not normally have a narrator to take on the duty of revealing information piece by piece to the audience.

(Video) Soliloquy, Monologue, and Aside

Movies and novels can simply ask the narrator to reveal personal information that we would have no other way of knowing.

Monologue vs. Soliloquy vs. Aside: What Are the Differences? (3)

Still, the drama doesn’t usually have the luxury of an all-seeing, all-knowing figure that looms over the entire sequence of events.

As such, plays had to adapt by introducing techniques that could reveal the characters’ innermost thoughts.

This, essentially, is the issue that soliloquies and asides, meant to be given to the audience, are meant to address.

The other major shortcoming of theater as a medium is that you can generally only do so much with backgrounds and props.

We can’t expect every theater company to have the budget to flood the entire building when a scene needs to take place on board a sinking ship, for example.

The hilariously opulent Romans might disagree since they did basically do exactly that on occasion, but that’s a story for another day.

As such, monologues, in which the character can go on and on about settings or backstories that were previously invisible to the audience, can be an excellent way to insert the setting into an otherwise blank stage retroactively.

Of course, these techniques do have other unique traits and purposes of their own that are worth discussing, so let’s dive right in.

What Is a Monologue?

Monologue vs. Soliloquy vs. Aside: What Are the Differences? (4)

A monologue is a long uninterrupted speech that a character gives to another character.

It is important to identify that monologues are intentionally vocalized speech, whereas soliloquies tend to represent private thoughts in drama.

(Video) Monologue vs. Soliloquy

Monologues often reveal a character’s goals, schemes, or backstory to one or more other characters.

This is commonly used for a “big reveal” scene that explicitly breaks down secrets that have been kept from the audience from other characters, or from both.

Unlike soliloquies and asides, monologues are not necessarily restricted to the theater.

Movies, novels, video games, and other forms of media can all utilize a lengthy speech given by a particular character effectively.

One classic example is the infamous “villainous monologue” in which the antagonist of the story reveals their plans and backstory in excruciating detail, relishing in the shock of the protagonists who are seemingly helpless to derail their plans at that moment.

This moment is often the culmination of various formulaic tropes and has become a staple of good vs. evil narratives.

What Is a Soliloquy?

Monologue vs. Soliloquy vs. Aside: What Are the Differences? (5)

A soliloquy is a long speech that a character gives to express their deepest thoughts and emotions, particularly in theatrical settings.

The most famous soliloquies tend to be works of poetry rather than prose.

Shakespearian soliloquies, such as the iconic soliloquy inHamlet, notably fit this criterion.

In that particular moment, when Hamlet gives his infamous “to be or not to be” speech, he is openly revealing details about his depressed state.

The phrase is really asking whether it’s better “to live or not to live” and goes on to emphasize the suffering brought about by life, questioning whether it might be better to simply drop dead instead, characterizing Hamlet’s morbidity.

(Video) The Difference Between A Soliloquy And A Monologue

Soliloquies were truly in their prime during the Elizabethan era in England, where many playwrights utilized poetic soliloquies with their characters.

Blank verse, a poetic form utilizing unrhymed iambic pentameter, was especially popular as a style of delivery.

Dramatists use soliloquies to simulate thought in a play.

Just as modern movies and video games utilize voiceovers to reveal the thoughts of the characters, plays have always needed ways to reveal the inner workings and emotional turmoil of the protagonists.

Soliloquy is mostly restricted to the theater since written works have the advantage of a narrator or speaker who can blatantly reveal the thoughts of the characters to the reader when necessary.

Playwrights may sometimes opt to utilize other characters as a stand-in for the audience, to ask probing questions, but soliloquy is one of the most revealing ways to explore a character’s thoughts on stage.

Ancient Greek plays utilized the chorus to achieve a similar effect, allowing the chorus to act as the play’s narrator, revealing the inner workings of the characters on stage.

One of the most defining features of a soliloquy is that it is intended to be a private moment that no other characters in the play can hear.

If there are other characters on stage, the audience is generally expected to understand that they are “not paying attention” to the soliloquy.

What Is an Aside?

Monologue vs. Soliloquy vs. Aside: What Are the Differences? (6)

An aside is similar to a soliloquy in many respects in that it’s directed at the audience of a play and is not meant to be heard by the other characters.

The major difference is in length.

(Video) Speeches (Sort of): Aside, Soliloquy, and Monologue

Whereas a soliloquy is a lengthy speech, an aside is typically a quick comment.

Asides can be used to clarify something for the audience or to provide a sudden flash of insight into a character’s opinion or mental state.

As with soliloquies, asides rely on the audience’s suspension of disbelief to imply that no other character heard them.

Traditionally, asides are often used to break up the mood of a scene.

Due to their brevity, an aside can be an excellent way to inject sudden unexpected comedy into an otherwise serious scene.

The character might reveal something absurd or irreverent in the middle of an argument.

Alternatively, an aside can be used to inject a sense of human heart into a seemingly cold moment in the play.

Two characters may be arguing violently but revealing in asides to the audience that they wish they could shut their mouths and make up.

In this way, asides can be extremely similar in nature to the soliloquy in what they can reveal.

Movies and TV shows use similar pace-breaking techniques like cutaway gags and brief flashbacks for many of the same purposes.

FAQs

What is the difference between a monologue and a soliloquy? ›

Remember, a soliloquy involves a character speaking his thoughts to himself, he is not speaking directly to anyone, including the audience. The plural form is soliloquies. A monologue is a speech spoken by one character, usually in a play.

What is the difference between soliloquy and aside in drama? ›

Aside: An aside is not spoken to the other characters on stage, which makes it more like a soliloquy than a monologue. But unlike a soliloquy, an aside is typically very short. Within the realm of Shakespeare, Iago makes many asides in Othello.

What are the main differences between soliloquies monologues and asides What are the similarities between the three? ›

Asides are shorter than soliloquies, usually only one or two lines. Soliloquies are longer speeches, much like monologues, but more private. Soliloquies and asides CANNOT be heard by the other characters onstage. Soliloquies and asides are spoken directly to the audience, or as private words to the self.

What is the difference between a monologue and a soliloquy quizlet? ›

A monologue is a conversation between a character and himself or herself. A soliloquy is spoken while alone on stage.

What is the biggest difference between a monologue and a soliloquy? ›

A monologue is a long speech delivered to other characters. A soliloquy is a long speech where a character talks to himself/herself or voices his/her thoughts aloud for the benefit of the audience.

What is the difference between a monologue and a soliloquy Brainly? ›

A soliloquy is a conversation between two characters. A monologue is a conversation between a character and himself or herself.

What is a monologue example? ›

For example, a scene that captures a president's speech to a crowd exhibits a dramatic monologue that is both lengthy and important to the story's plotline. In fact, in TV, theater ,and film, all speeches given by a single character—to an audience, the audience, or even just one character—are dramatic monologues.

What is soliloquy and examples? ›

Soliloquy is the word we traditionally use to refer to a monologue that is delivered when the character is alone. In Shakespeare's plays, for example, there are many speeches that begin with a character saying something like “Now I am alone.” And you know you are about to experience a soliloquy.

What is the purpose of the monologue and the soliloquy? ›

For this reason, monologues and soliloquies allow an audience to learn about a character's thoughts, emotions, and motives through his or her own words rather than getting information from a narrator or another character.

What is monologue short answer? ›

Monologue, in literature and drama, an extended speech by one person. It is a speech given by a single character in a story.

What is the difference between a monologue and a soliloquy apex? ›

A monologue is a conversation between a character and himself or herself. A soliloquy is a long speech in which a character speaks one's thoughts to the audience.

How do you know if its a monologue? ›

You can tell that you have an inner monologue when you experience signs like having songs stuck in your head, replaying a favorite podcast or movie in your mind, or having a conversation with yourself. Some people experience inner monologue in the form of hearing their voice going over the words when they read a book.

What are the 3 types of monologue? ›

  • Soliloquy (monologue in drama)
  • Dramatic monologue.
  • Operatic monologue.
  • Comic monologue.
  • Monologuing.

Why is it called a monologue? ›

The Greek root word monologos translates to “speaking alone,” and that's a monologue: one person doing all the talking. In theatre, sometimes a character has a monologue that they perform.

What is the purpose of monologue? ›

In theatre, a monologue (from Greek: μονόλογος, from μόνος mónos, "alone, solitary" and λόγος lógos, "speech") is a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience.

What is an aside example? ›

Some recognizable examples of asides include: 1. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1597): William Shakespeare often used asides in many of his plays. Juliet uses one in particular to reveal her true grief for Romeo rather than her own cousin Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet.

What is the most famous soliloquy? ›

It is Shakespeare's most performed play around the world — and, of course, one of the most-taught works of literature in high school and college classrooms. In fact, Hamlet's “To be or not to be” speech is the best-known soliloquy in the world.

What is the full meaning of soliloquy? ›

/səˈlɪl.ə.kwi/ plural soliloquies. a speech in a play that the character speaks to himself or herself or to the people watching rather than to the other characters: Hamlet's soliloquy starts "To be or not to be".

What is the opposite of monologue? ›

'Monologue' means a long, tedious speech by one person during a conversation, a film or a play. The correct antonym of the given word is option A, 'dialogue' which means a conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or film.

How long is a monologue? ›

Most monologues should be no longer than a minute and half, or about 20 to 30 lines, unless you've been directed otherwise.

Can a monologue have two characters? ›

A monologue is spoken by only one person, but it could be written as a scene with two characters, as long as the other person doesn't interrupt or respond, except with gestures.

What is an example of a soliloquy? ›

Soliloquy is the word we traditionally use to refer to a monologue that is delivered when the character is alone. In Shakespeare's plays, for example, there are many speeches that begin with a character saying something like “Now I am alone.” And you know you are about to experience a soliloquy.

Is soliloquy a type of monologue? ›

A soliloquy (q.v.) is a type of monologue in which a character directly addresses an audience or speaks his thoughts aloud while alone or while the other actors keep silent.

What is a simple definition of soliloquy? ›

Soliloquy (from the Latin solus “alone” and loqui “to speak”) at its most basic level refers to the act of talking to oneself, and more specifically denotes the solo utterance of an actor in a drama. It tends to be used of formal or literary expressions, such as Hamlet's soliloquies.

What is the purpose of a monologue? ›

Monologues serve a specific purpose in storytelling—to give the audience more details about a character or about the plot. Used carefully, they are a great way to share the internal thoughts or backstory of a character or to give more specific details about the plot.

What are two types of soliloquy? ›

In terms of the interrelationship between the soliloquist and his known or unknown addressees, the soliloquy may be divided into four basic types: Plain Soliloquy, Attended Soliloquy, Soliloquy with Props, and Dialogical Soliloquy.

Is Romeo and Juliet a soliloquy? ›

Soliloquy in Romeo and Juliet Act 3

Romeo is full of soliloquies, but in Act 3, Scene 2, Juliet shows us how she feels.

What happens during a soliloquy? ›

soliloquy, passage in a drama in which a character expresses his thoughts or feelings aloud while either alone upon the stage or with the other actors keeping silent. This device was long an accepted dramatic convention, especially in the theatre of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

What are the rules of a soliloquy? ›

There aren't really any rules for writing a soliloquy – simply let your characters speak their minds! Be aware, though, that the form of the soliloquy will tell the audience something about the character and their state of mind.

What are the elements of a soliloquy? ›

In a soliloquy, the character makes a lengthy speech to him or herself. In a monologue, the character delivers a speech to other characters with the clear intent of being heard by them. For example, in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, when Hamlet asks, “To be or not to be…?”, he is speaking to himself in a soliloquy.

What part of speech is soliloquy? ›

The noun soliloquy comes from the Latin roots solus ("alone") plus loqui ("speak") — so the word literally means "an act of speaking to oneself." A soliloquy is a dramatic speech that reveal's a character's inner thoughts and reflections. Some of the most famous lines in drama are taken from soliloquies.

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