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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Dramatic Monologue

Hi! This is my first post as the newest addition to Unicorn Bell. Thanks again to Chrys for recommending me. And the warm welcomes from CD Coffelt, Marcy, Kristin, Elizabeth, Charity and Angela!

This is also my first time in taking part in the A to Z challenge. And as April is National Poetry Month, you know what my theme is going to be, right?

So without further ado, “D is for Dramatic Monologue.”

Without knowing it, you already know what a dramatic monologue is. Everyone had to at least read a William Shakespeare play or two during middle and high school. Hamlet’s “To be or not to be, that is the question.” speech is one example. Then there’s Lady Macbeth’s ‘unsex me’ speech. And Mercutio’s ‘Queen Mab’ speech in Romeo and Juliet.

A dramatic monologue are like the soliloquies Shakespeare often used in his plays. The speaker in a dramatic monologue is a persona other than the poet. The speaker can be a person, a place or a thing which is why dramatic monologues are also known as persona poems.

In a dramatic monologue, the speaker voices their thoughts and feelings. And does so unaware of a listening audience, you the reader. The poem itself is not even targeted to a specific reader. Oftentimes, it is the reader who might be more informed of things unknown to the speaker.

Sylvia Plath has written a dramatic monologue you might know well. It deals with the theme of mental illness and suicide. Here is one of my favorite lines from Plath’s Lady Lazarus. And here’s where you can read the poem in its entirety.:

Lady Lazarus

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
-Sylvia Plath, 23-29 October 1962 ©

I wrote a variation of a dramatic monologue in poetry workshop during college. It is an attempt of the persona poem from the point of view of a painting. Can you spot why it’s different?:

Tempera on Cardboard

Father, do you know what you’ve done?
I, your firstborn and
most famous child of us four, Skrik
am now within the vile company
of two black men.
Do you know what has happened to me
and most unfortunately, my dear sister Madonna too?
Two dark men has desecrated your home, our home
on the Holy Sabbath day,
breaking the eighth commandment.
We’re coveted, kidnapped, what more can I say?
I saw my life through gunpoint and
guttural shouts and threats.
Now August 22, 2004
is a day I curse my birth on
that pier in Asgardstrand
underneath a magma-red Oslofjord sky.
We were left with no real protection.
So now I cry, scream and shriek
at my fate with mute lips
and silently wish that you
Edvard Munch were never born.
-Lidy Wilks, 2002-2003 ©


Sheena-kay Graham said...

I love poetry. Thanks for the reminder of poetry month. Not spoken about a lot in Jamaica so I keep forgetting. Love Shakespeare.

Em-Musing said...

Love the last poem. I do know dramatic monologue. I used to act and often on an audition, I was asked to do a monologue. Every actor has one committed to memory. Mine was from Spoon River Anthology. Didn't know about national poety month.

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Lidy! I knew you'd be a great addition to the group. And I'm glad you get to dip your toes in during the Challenge. :)

Your poem was awesome. A great example of dramatic monologue.

Huntress said...

When reading posts, I don't usually sit up and angle closer to the screen. Sure did this time.

I'm not sure if I can answer why it's different though. Because the POV shifts? From painting to persona and back to painting?

I feel like such a dolt.
Very very good.
And again Welcome

Darla M Sands said...

If Huntress feels idiotic, I should as well. ~grin~ I'm not a good student of poetry but really enjoyed this post.
Awakening Dreams and Conquering Nightmares with a Pen
I’m really enjoying my little focus on music this month. Be well!

Lidy Wilks said...

@sheena-kay My hubby is from Jamaica too. And he's told me many times before to think about writing poems like Miss Lou.

@Em-musing Thank you. It always come as a surprise to hear how it isn't as well known. Really the Academy of American Poets need to advertise it better. Especially since this year is their 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month.

@chrys Thank you :-D

@Huntress Glad you enjoyed it. Wait until the letter "L." ;-D

@Darla That you enjoyed today's post is all that matters.

Ryan Carty said...

Sylvia breaks my heart over and over. Great post.

Sunday Visitor said...

Great post for D!!

Liz A. said...

I learned a little something today. And no, I have no idea what's different about yours.

Welcome to the blog.

Sharon Himsl said...

You explain it well. Good example!
Pioneer Women in Aviation A-Z

Lidy Wilks said...

@Ryan @Sunday @Liz @Sharon Thank you.

Chetan Yadav said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ula HD said...

I loved your poem, Lidy. I love Sylvia Plath and "Lady Lazarus" is one of my favorites.

Urszula Humienik from urszulahumienik.com

Lidy Wilks said...

@Ula Thank you. I'll talk a bit more about Sylvia Plath on Friday as part of the poetry project I'm doing on my blog. Her poem "The Colossus" is another of my favorites.