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Robert Browning
Dramatic Monologue Vs. Soliloquy


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Browning's use of dramatic monologue in comparison to the Shakespearean soliloquy.

dramatic monologue:

literary composition in which the speaker reveals his or her character to another person established through their tone and style


a flow of thoughts expressed by a character revealing their feelings on a matter; the soliloquy forwardly replaces dialogue that would have to be held to reveal certain feelings

A dramatic monologue differs from a soliloquy in that, while there is but one speaker, the presence of a silent second person is supposed, to whom the arguments of the speaker are addressed. It thought that dramatic monologue is superior to the soliloquy because allows the artist greater room in which to work out his conception of character.

Browning's use of exploring the subtle, hidden roots and meanings for human behavior in his writings and using dramatic monologue allowed him not to limit his character. A monologue often begins with a startling abruptness, and the reader must read along some distance before he gathers what the beginning means. Browning loved to use dramatic or psychologic monologue because he enjoyed revealing his character, through reflection or directly, to some one. At the end of his works he wished to leave the reader with a shock, a ripple, an impression in their theology, morals, philosophy, or art.