dramatic device where a character speaks to his- or herself

A soliloquy is a special kind of speech in a play. In a soliloquy, the character speaks to themselves. Other characters of the play are not aware of what is said.[1][2] That way, the character can share certain thoughts or feelings with the audience.

There are many famous soliloquies in Shakespeare's plays such as the "To be or not to be" soliloquy in Hamlet, the "Is this a dagger" and the "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" soliloquies in Macbeth, and the "Bottom's Dream" soliloquy in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Plays changed towards realism in the 18th century. Soliloquies became less common in plays.


  1. “Soliloquy.” Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd. ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. Print. McArthur, Tom. Ed. The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.
  2. Soliloquy - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary