History of Dramatic Monologues (Subject (Violence, Affairs, Betrayal),…
History of Dramatic Monologues
Inventor : Browning
Victorian poet during 19th century
Features of his poems
First person speaker
Detailed historical settings
Complex vocabulary and sentence structure
Browning wrote about the changing conditions of urban living.
Poverty and violence was part of everyday life.
People felt there were fewer restrictions on behaviour.
Many city dwellers had a sense of freedom and insecurity.
Growth of newspapers which functioned like scandal sheets.
Writers attempted to shock the public amidst this turmoil in more novel and sensational ways.
Poem with first person speaker.
Speaker who is clearly separate from poet
Speaks to audience that is silent and remains present in scene. Reader feels that they are audience and we are in scene.
Develop character of speaker.
Engages reader by developing our relation ship with speaker.
Relation with speaker often uncomfortable
Narrative unreliability / Dramatic irony
We doubt honesty / accuracy/ sanity of what speaker says.
Puts us in imaginary but awkward social space.
Browning further distances himself by using/inventing historical characters.
Browning uses high level of historical specificity and detail.