I Learn Something New Everday!

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Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (1-31) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"A dramatic monologue is a poem that is spoken by a fictional narrator who is clearly different from the author in age, situation, or gender."

I never really understood what dramatic monologue was. After reading the article, I understood it in a better way. Hamilton used the poem that we recently read as an example. I was able to make a better connection with this term by reading that example (pg. 16). He stated that the narrator in the poem is a prudish and self-consicous guest at a cocktail party... I realize that is true, but this example helped a lot. Another statement that helped me understand this term was when Hamilton said, the major purpose is for the speaker to reveal, often unwittingly, signifcant aspects of his or her qualities, values, and experiences, which are inferred by the reader. I thought that dramatic monologue was interesting and that is why I have posted my blog entry about it. I thought it was interesting that a fictional narrator can change the way that the story is read or understood.

6 Comments

Dramatic monologue is a really interesting technique to get you to view characters in a certain light. I think it's similar to having first-person narrators in prose. Sometimes having a character narrate the story makes you think highly of the character, like in "Mother to Son," and sometimes it doesn't, like with the example of "The Last Duchess."

I too thought it was interesting reading about the dramatic monologue. I learned a lot in this particular section that I can now apply to what I read since I think I will better be able to understand it.

Literary terms have often been difficult for me because no two are ever quite alike, and they can be so drastically different. I mean, think about any two monologues you've read. Both will be monologues, but usually that's where the similarities will end. This book helped me a lot by giving a wide range of examples of the same term. Even if you simply look at the two examples given (pages 16 to 19) they are drastically different in style characters, and intention, but if you look at both of them as a work of literature you can begin to see the similarities in what they reveal about themselves.

Good points. I'll add to what Matt wrote by noting that sometimes when we read a dramatic monologue, we learn more about the speaker than the speaker knows about himself or herself. Often the speaker is an unreliable source.

I have never heard of dramatic monologues until reading this. I also find it very interesting that the speaker can change the story so much and I will take this into consideration while reading in the future and looking back on past readings.

The book says that dramatic monologues are about characters that differ from their authors, whether it be age, gender, or situation.

When I learned this, I finally realized what kind of label we could put on "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

I agree with you that it is really cool how a character, who is pure fiction, can change the way a story is interpreted.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on February 3, 2007 7:11 PM.

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