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Week 3: The Dramatic Monologue And The Modern Lyric Tradition. Q4: What Is A Dramatic Monologue? Can It Be Defined? With Reference To Browning, Eliot And Carol Ann Duffy:

2025 words - 8 pages

The dramatic monologue is extremely hard to define, as it is multifaceted, and monologues vary widely in regards in content and situation. The dramatic part of the monologue form can be put down to the structure of the poetry itself, which is very often iambic, and where punctuation follows the pattern of everyday speech. Dramatic monologues do not usually rhyme, or conform to a strict pattern, as they are intended to reveal and honest and unedited version of the character which they portray.We can attribute several other characteristics common to the dramatic monologue form. What becomes quickly apparent, is that common to all dramatic monologues is the immediate assertion of a dramatic voice, or speaker, which is usually somewhat distanced from the poet himself. Following on from this is the assumption that there is a receiver of the poem, which is where the character directs his argument, often to a singular implied person, or someone who is directly addressed. Usually this is not directed at the readers, and they form a silent audience who are permitted to fill in the gaps in the argument and pass silent judgement upon it. We can also say that the dramatic monologue is dramatic because it takes place in one time and space, and is a comment on that particular moment of time, and shows only one person's view on this moment: that of the speaker. It is therefore up to the audience to create their own tension, and being the silent witness to the views of the speaker, the dramatic monologue often provokes severe disagreement from the readers, which is ignored, and allows the speaker to be uninterrupted. THe internal discussion which is externalised and dramatised, is dramatic because of the sense of eavesdropping on a private moment or revelation, or discussion with one other, and though monologues can sometimes be very lengthy, the readers continue to read because of the intrigue, and the tension between their own views and that of the speaker.In examining the dramatic monologue, it is first necessary to attempt top establish the identity of the addressed person, if there is one, and then examine why this person is being spoken to, and what they are being told. This allows us to see the dramatic monologue as the formation of an argument, which is structured in the way of regular speech, complete with digressions, and asides. This allows readers to see that perhaps the speaker is not being completely honest, or is hiding something, and allows us to fill in the spaces, to create inner tension, and a kind of loose dialogue of judgement and statement between the reader and the speaker.Having stated these assumptions, we can examine the practical assimilation of the concepts through the work of T.S.Eliot, Robert Browning and more recently, Philip Larkin.In The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, Eliot makes an interesting statement regarding the monologue itself through the use of the epigraph, where Prufrock describes the kind of audience he would like...

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