This is talking to oneself!  It might be a running monologue in which someone expresses his/her thoughts, as with Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’.  On stage, this can be a useful dramatic device through which a villian may convey his wicked intentions in an ‘Aside’: one example of this is Iago’s soliloquy in Act 2 scene 1 of ‘Othello’ when he is watching Cassio’s courtly behaviour with Desdemona:

‘Iago (aside): He takes her by the palm; ay, well said, whisper.  With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio.’

More subtlely – and less melodramatically – a stage soliloquy can reveal  a character’s deepest feelings and motivation.  Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy, when he considers whether he should end his life, is one such example.

See other literary terms


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