Soliloquy Characteristics and famous examples in detail


The soliloquy is a reflection or meditation that a subject performs alone and aloud to communicate what he feels and thinks. Another way to define the soliloquy is as the expression of a speech that contains an emotional charge, which the speaker supports with himself or with an object that does not have the ability to respond. Soliloquy Characteristics and famous examples

The origin of the term soliloquy comes from the Latin word soliloquium , which in turn translates as speaking alone. Although the soliloquy is a kind of solitary conversation, there may be a case where there is a receiver, but it must not necessarily intervene or interrupt the sender.

From what has been said above, the fact arises that the soliloquy is a common resource in plays so that the audience knows the reflective nature of a character. This form of expression is directly related to the monologue, in fact, the Royal Spanish Academy relates them as synonyms.


As explained in the previous paragraphs, a soliloquy is a conversation that a subject or character has alone with himself, therefore his ideas or expressions are not interrupted. The following are the most common characteristics of the soliloquy: Soliloquy Characteristics and famous examples

Expression out loud

One of the main characteristics of the soliloquy is that it is pronounced out loud. The above means that the message is heard by the same person who emits it or by a receiver who does not participate in what is expressed.


This feature of the soliloquy refers to the conversation or dialogue that a subject has with himself. In this case, the feedback or reply that occurs in a regular communication does not occur.


The soliloquy stands out for its subjective, personal or individual content. What is expressed in a soliloquy is closely related to what the speaker feels or thinks.


The reflective nature of this type of expression has the main objective of knowing in depth the interior of the subject who is applying it. A soliloquy brings out a feeling or thought consistently about a given situation.

Use in dramatic works

While a soliloquy can be performed by an ordinary person at a certain point in their daily life, it is also true that it is part of dramatic works.

The soliloquy is used very frequently in the theater in the figure of the monologue (its synonym applicable to acting). This is done with the intention that the public has access to the most intimate emotions and thoughts of a certain character.

As already said, the Royal Spanish Academy has the soliloquy and the monologue as synonyms, in fact, both words fall under what is known as “monologue forms”. However, there are a number of differences that need to be defined between them. Soliloquy Characteristics and famous examples

Firstly, a monologue is understood to be one of the genres of theater, so it is known to all, while the soliloquy deals with a speech made by a specific character within a theatrical work. Of course, here the difference is subtle, the soliloquy is applied as a monologue, but within a theatrical work that shelters it.

Another interesting detail that can be highlighted from the small differences between the monologue and the soliloquy is that when the latter occurs, the character who is going to carry it out departs from a group. Whereas in the monologue (as a genre of stage play) the character is alone.

Examples of famous soliloquies

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Act three, scene one:

“To be or not to be, that is the question. What is more worthy action of the mind, to suffer the penetrating shots of unjust fortune, or to oppose the arms of this torrent of calamities, and put an end to them with daring resistance? dying is sleeping, no more? And by a dream, shall we say the afflictions are over and the pains without number, heritage of our weak nature? …

“… Who, if this were not, would endure the slowness of the courts, the insolence of the employees, the outrages that the merit of the most unworthy men receives peacefully, the anguish of a badly paid love, the insults and losses of the age, the violence of tyrants, the contempt of the proud? When the one who suffers this, he could seek his stillness with just a dagger… ”.

Life is a dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Sigismund: “It’s true. Well we repress

this fierce condition,

this fury, this ambition,

in case we ever dream:

And yes we will, well we are

in such a singular world,

that living alone is dreaming;

and experience teaches me Soliloquy Characteristics and famous examples

that the man who lives, dreams

what it is, until you wake up.

The king dreams that he is king.

The king dreams that he is king, and he lives

with this deception commanded,

arranging and governing;

and this applause, which receives

borrowed, in the wind he writes,

and turns him to ashes

death, strong misery!

What is there who tries to reign,

seeing that he has to wake up

in the dream of death?

The rich man dreams of his wealth,

what more care offers you;

the poor man who suffers dreams

their misery and their poverty …

I dream i’m here

of these loaded prisons,

and I dreamed that in another state

I saw myself more flattering …

What is life? an illusion,

a shadow, a fiction,

and the greatest good is small:

that all life is a dream,

and dreams are dreams ”.

The harassment of Alejo Carpentier

“… Although I have tried to cover it up, to silence it, I keep it in mind, always present; after months of oblivion that was not forgotten … After many days, the smell of rotten water is still under the forgotten tuberose in their coral glasses, the lights lit by the west, which close the arcades of that long, too long , gallery of blinds …

“… and the noise of a music box falling from on high, when the breeze makes the glass needles that dress the lantern fringed by wind collide …”. Soliloquy Characteristics and famous examples

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