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A soliloquy an utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or herself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present (often used as a device in drama to disclose a character's innermost thoughts)

Introduction to monologue

A soliloquy is basically a kind of monologue. It is when a character (usually in a play) begins speaking his thoughts out loud as if no one were listening to him. 

The main purpose of a soliloquy is usually to provide the audience with a window into the innermost thoughts of a given character. 

Soliloquy examples 

So that you can better understand the meaning of soliloquy, here are a few examples of the term being used within the context of real sentences. 

"Hamlet's soliloquy, in which he asks the philosophical question of 'to be or not to be', is probably one of the most famous ones in the entire history of theater." 

"His friends wished that he would stop going off on his soliloquy about politics and remember that they were all really supposed to have a conversation together."

"The soliloquy was important because it helped the audience understand the hero's motivations; if it had been cut from the play, then his actions may have made no sense."

Now, just in case this may be helpful to you, here are a couple rules you can follow in order to make sure you are using the term soliloquy correctly. 

1. In a soliloquy, a character always talks to himself. If any other character is present in the interaction, then the speech is not a soliloquy; rather, it would be part of a dialogue. 

2. When a character speaks a soliloquy, the other characters cannot hear him. The soliloquy is essentially just the verbalization of the character's internal thought processes, for the benefit of the audience. 

3. Any other use of the term soliloquy is usually either metaphorical or ironic. It can be used, for example, to call attention to the fact that a speaker is paying attention to no one but himself.  

Usage in literature

The soliloquy is perhaps most closely associated with the dramatic works of Shakespeare. This is due to the fact that Shakespeare was an extremely astute psychologist, with the result that he was able to use the soliloquy in order to portray the mental states of his characters in a very powerful way. Hamlet, of course, would be a classic example of this. A soliloquy cannot add to the dramatic narrative of the play itself, since it by definition cannot have any direct action on other characters. The point of the soliloquy is primarily psychological in nature. 

It would seem that the soliloquy has gone out of fashion in more modern theater. This is due to the fact that theater has increasingly shifted toward a "realistic" portrayal of situations—and this implies portraying the situations as they actually look in real life. In the real world, though, time does not generally stop as a person declares an inner monologue out loud to an invisible audience. Therefore, the soliloquy is somewhat at odds with the ethos of realism, even as it can provide a highly realistic description of human psychology. 

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