Literary Term Soliloquy

Literary Term Soliloquy


A Soliloquy is a speech in which someone loudly expresses his thoughts to the audience on the stage. This literary device allows the audience to delve deep into a character’s mentality. It reveals an understanding of their motivations, conflicts, and desires intimately. Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be”, Macbeth’s “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow”, Iago’s “I hate the Moor”, and  Edmund’s “Thou, nature, art my goddess”. 

  • Purposes of Soliloquies: Soliloquies in English literature serve multiple purposes, offering insights into a character’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations. Here are a few key purposes:

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  • Revealing Inner Thoughts: Soliloquies allow characters to express their innermost thoughts, desires, and conflicts directly to the audience or readers. This intimate portrayal helps the audience understand the character’s true feelings and intentions, even if they might not reveal them in dialogue.

  • Character Development: They contribute significantly to character development. Through soliloquies, characters can reflect on their experiences, fears, ambitions, and moral dilemmas. This allows the audience to understand the character’s psyche and motivations better. It leads to more complex and relatable characters.

  • Rhetorical Devices: Writers use metaphors, similes, and symbolism within soliloquies to enhance their impact. These devices make the speech more engaging, vivid, and memorable.

  • Advancing the plot: Soliloquies often contain critical information or foreshadow events that advance the storyline. They hint at future actions or provide insights that guide the audience’s understanding of the narrative.

  • Engaging the audience: Soliloquies can be powerful tools for engaging the audience or readers. They create a sense of intimacy between the character and the audience. They draw them into the character’s world, creating a stronger emotional connection.

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  • Exploration of themes: They can delve into broader themes or ideas in the work, such as love, power, ambition, morality, or fate. Soliloquies offer a platform for characters to contemplate these themes in-depth, adding depth and complexity to the literary work.

  • Language and Style: The language and style of a soliloquy often differ from regular dialogue. Writers use heightened language, poetic devices, or distinct speech patterns to make the soliloquy stand out and emphasize its importance.


Riya Akter
Riya Akter
Hey, This is Riya Akter Setu, B.A (Hons) & M.A in English from National University.


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