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The stuff that dreams are made of

               DRAMATIC MONOLOGUES 2


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





The Proposition



In the Name of the Father


 "Robert McKee" monologue from Adaptation

Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There’s genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ’s sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can’t find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don’t know crap about life.”  -  Robert McKee character in Adaptation



 Monologue from Five Easy Pieces

 Manny's monologue from Runaway Train


  Father Barry's Monologue in  On the Waterfront

from Short Cuts

 from Mad Men  (Carousel)

from The Ox-Bow Incident