noun, plural so·lil·o·quies.
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Words nearby soliloquy
What does soliloquy mean?
A soliloquy is a speech spoken to no one but oneself, even if other people are around. The word is most often used to describe such a speech in a play.
In a play, a soliloquy is performed alone, regardless of whether there are other actors present on the stage. Soliloquies are typically used to let the audience hear a character’s inner thoughts. In terms of theater, a soliloquy is different from a monologue, which is also a long speech, but is part of a conversation with someone else.
Example: The most famous soliloquy in theater is perhaps the one from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which begins “To be, or not to be, that is the question.”
Where does soliloquy come from?
Soliloquy comes from the Late Latin word sōliloquium, which has the same meaning (“a talking to oneself”). This is formed from the Latin sōli-, meaning “sole” or “alone” (as in solitary), and loqu(ī), meaning “to speak” (as in loquacious). The suffix -y is used to form abstract nouns, like inquiry. The first records of soliloquy come from around 1600.
In theater, there are no voice-overs to let the audience know what a character is thinking. Enter the soliloquy, which allows a character to express their inner thoughts through a speech, especially a lengthy one. The soliloquy was a commonly used device in the days of playwrights like Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, and its popularly continued for centuries. Twentieth-century playwrights like Arthur Miller still used soliloquies, but you’re probably less likely to see one in a modern production (perhaps because a character just standing there and talking to no one doesn’t seem all that realistic).
In everyday use, soliloquy is sometimes used as a synonym for monologue, but in the context of theater, they are technically different: a monologue is a long speech made by someone during a conversation with someone else, while a soliloquy is a speech by character that is not addressed to anyone. Both are different from an aside, in which a character addresses the audience.
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What are some other forms related to soliloquy?
What are some words that share a root or word element with soliloquy?
What are some words that often get used in discussing soliloquy?
What are some words soliloquy may be commonly confused with?
How is soliloquy used in real life?
Soliloquy is most often used in the context of theater, but it is sometimes used to refer to real-life solo speeches. Sometimes people use it to mean just about the same thing as monologue.
Satan's soliloquy as he re-contemplates his rebellion against God in heaven in John Milton's "Paradise Lost". Beautifully written. pic.twitter.com/Ru1t1nOeuw
— René (@rixi_v) February 27, 2020
Struggling in a dark cold abyss. Profound reasoning nor my wits doesn't stand a chance. In afar a spark started, that now became a flame. Flame that lit up the path and gave me warmth. Doing soliloquy "I am saved".
— Ezekiel (@Zekieeeel) February 22, 2020
These long syrupy soliloquies on Facebook about people's spouses and children make me crinkle my nose and shake my head.
Maybe I'm wrong, but telling her how I feel privately seems almost sacred. It's our time. That's what makes it so special.
I don't know. What do you think?
— Craytus Jones (@craytusjones) February 23, 2020
Try using soliloquy!
In technical terms, how is a soliloquy different from a monologue?
A. It is performed to the audience.
B. The character is talking only to themself.
C. Other actors are present onstage.
D. It tells what the character is thinking.
Example sentences from the Web for soliloquy
After his Green Eggs and Ham soliloquy, sanity left the building and a shutdown was almost inevitable.
Biden launched into a soliloquy in praise of double-barrel shotguns.Joe Biden’s Shotgun Approach to Politics Good for Obama Administration|John Avlon|February 21, 2013|DAILY BEAST
In a tearful statement, he launched into a soliloquy about seeing himself free again playing with children, balloons, and dogs.
And at that point he launched into a soliloquy about seeing himself free again playing with children, balloons, and dogs.
I also read, relatedly, John Galt's soliloquy for the first time in my life the other day.
I shuddered at the possibility of his having overheard the words of my soliloquy.Caleb Williams|William Godwin
"Move on, youngster," quoth a policeman at this moment, and thus put an end to my soliloquy.Confessions Of Con Cregan|Charles James Lever
"At this rate we shall freeze to death before midnight," he added, as if in soliloquy.Deserted|Edward Bellamy
The speaker paused, as if he had been talking to himself; and then continued the soliloquy only in thought.The Maroon|Mayne Reid
Then the poor old man began sobbing and soliloquizing; for it is a mistake to suppose that there is no soliloquy in nature.French Classics|William Cleaver Wilkinson