Dramatic Monologues: a Brief Introduction

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Dramatic Monologues:
According to M.H. Abrahms, dramatic monologue is a poetic form, "a lengthy speech by a single person", addressing a silent listener, intended to convey his or her inner thoughts and emotions. It can be rewritten in jargonised terms as 'a cross or hybrid of the genres of drama and lyric'. A lyric poem is ‘any fairly short poem, consisting of the utterance by a single speaker, who expresses a state of mind or a process of perception, thought, and feeling’. Though, the invention of the form remains unknown, it was widely practiced widely by poets of the Victorian era like Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson in"Ulysses", Dante and recent poets like Ezra Pound's "The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter", Amy Lowell, Robert Frost's "The Pauper Witch of Grafton", T.S. Eliot's "Love Song of J". Alfred Prufrock, Robert Hayden's "Night, Death, Mississippi" and other poets of the twentieth century. As we know, the dramatic monologue is arguably the greatest contribution of Victorian poetry. Is the most significant poetic innovation of the age and gained widespread use after the 1830s by an overwhelming range of poets. Though the form is cheifly associated with Robert Browning, there are many old English poems were dramatic monologues for example, "The Wanderer" and "The Seafarer", Robert Burns' "Holy Willie's Prayer." The technique is evident in many of the Greek dramas as well. But still the origin of the form have been much debated in the last several decades as the critics claimed it to be the Victorians probably. The dramatic monologue has provoked a vast literature since it is in many respects a curious, innovative genre. Leaving the origin, lets look upon the features and characters of a dramatic monologue: The dramatic monologue is a highly theatrical form occupying (paradoxically) a very untheatrical space. It is built upon the essential elements of live theatre: the pacings, turns, and rhythms of actor-spoken...
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