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Making the dramatic monologue dramatic
Art never explains, and this is particularly the case when it comes to writing effective dramatic monologues. A monologue is not warranted if it merely provides exposition concerning events already known to those present, or if it narrates a sequence of events that are not germane to building or releasing the emotional energy inherent in the actions of the characters. To be dramatic, a dramatic monologue should incorporate the following:
+ The speaker should be speaking because s/he is in the midst of some tumultuous conflict that must be resolved – immediately, if possible.
+ The speech should have an arc or throughline in which the speaker goes on an emotional journey of some kind.
+ The character should change as a result of what s/he has learned during the course of speaking.
+ The conflict and journey should cause a step-by-step progression that moves toward an emotional high point.
+ The character should make discoveries, e.g.: find new ideas, experience possibilities, novel understandings, victories, defeats, and as a result leave off talking at a point where something important has changed for the character.
+ The given circumstances (context) of the piece should make the stakes and urgency extremely high.
See how well these points/principles are dramatised in the following scenes:
from The Caretaker
In the Name of the Father
"Robert McKee" monologue from Adaptation
Monologue from Five Easy Pieces