Week 3: The Dramatic Monologue and the Modern Lyric Tradition. Q4: What is a Dramatic Monologue? Can it be defined? With reference to Browning, Eliot and Carol Ann Duffy:

Essay by rra22University, Bachelor's June 2005

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The dramatic monologue is extremely hard to define, as it is multifaceted, and monologues vary widely in regards in content and situation. The dramatic part of the monologue form can be put down to the structure of the poetry itself, which is very often iambic, and where punctuation follows the pattern of everyday speech. Dramatic monologues do not usually rhyme, or conform to a strict pattern, as they are intended to reveal and honest and unedited version of the character which they portray.

We can attribute several other characteristics common to the dramatic monologue form. What becomes quickly apparent, is that common to all dramatic monologues is the immediate assertion of a dramatic voice, or speaker, which is usually somewhat distanced from the poet himself. Following on from this is the assumption that there is a receiver of the poem, which is where the character directs his argument, often to a singular implied person, or someone who is directly addressed.

Usually this is not directed at the readers, and they form a silent audience who are permitted to fill in the gaps in the argument and pass silent judgement upon it. We can also say that the dramatic monologue is dramatic because it takes place in one time and space, and is a comment on that particular moment of time, and shows only one person's view on this moment: that of the speaker. It is therefore up to the audience to create their own tension, and being the silent witness to the views of the speaker, the dramatic monologue often provokes severe disagreement from the readers, which is ignored, and allows the speaker to be uninterrupted. THe internal discussion which is externalised and dramatised, is dramatic because of the sense of eavesdropping on a private moment or revelation, or discussion...