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In contradistinction with a dialogue, a monologue occurs when a character speaks at length by or to himself and not with or to other characters. In general, the monologue is used within the context of dramas or novels in order to provide the reader with a window into the character's own thoughts. More figuratively, a monologue could also said to be taking place if a person talks to someone else, but without letting them get a word in. 

Explanation of a monologue

A monologue is essentially when one single person speaks at length. The monologue can either be intended as one; or, it could the case that the speaker just happens to be a bad conversationalist.  

Monologue examples

Here are some examples of the term monologue being used in a correct way within the context of actual sentences. 

"The monologue delivered by the actor was widely praised by critics as casting important light on the psychology of his character, which would have remained unclear in the absence of this crucial scene."

"Due to his excited emotional state, the man was not aware of the fact that he had embarked on a monologue: his friends simply stared at him, waiting for him to run out of words, so that they would then be able to ask him a couple questions." 

"The man thought he had signed up for a conversation with the president of his company, but all he got instead was a tedious monologue; he tried to stifle his yawns so that his boss would not consider him impolite." 

In case you still need a little further clarification about the term monologue, here are a couple rules you can follow

1. The term monologue essentially has two main uses. The first is the intentional monologue, which is a scene within a work of art in which a character purposefully speaks at length by himself in order to fulfill an aesthetic purpose within the work. When used in this way, the term monologue is essentially synonymous with the term soliloquy

2. The second usage, though, is the unintentional monologue. This has negative connotations: it implies that although a situation should be a conversation or a dialogue, it has now become a monologue due to the fact that one person just keeps talking without letting anyone else get a word in. This is more of a popular than a literary usage of the term monologue. 

More context

The monologue likely became important with the modern increase in emphasis on the psychology of individual persons. The value of a monologue is premised on the modern notion of the individual self, because without such a unique and interior self, the monologue would lose its revelatory and thus interesting character. When a monologue occurs, it is as though the audience is getting a privileged glimpse into the inner working of a given character's mind. 

Alternatively, in more traditional forms of art, the monologue could perhaps have also been a way for a character to exemplify the values of a given people or culture, insofar as the assumption could be made that all people within the culture shared a similar psychology or system of values. In this case, the character would be not just himself but also the exemplification, or archetype, of everyone else. Such a monologue would likely be able to generate a strong sense of catharsis in the audience, insofar as they become identified with the speaker in a very personal way. 

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