As many consider Robert Browning to be the master of dramatic monologue, students may wish to use one of his poems, like "A Grammarian's Funeral." Alternatively, there is Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses," which some consider to be the first dramatic monologue.
Dramatic monologues are poems that speak in the persona of a character. They typically possess an argumentative tone. Some ideas for dramatic monologue include:
- Robert Browning's "Caliban Upon Setebos:" This poem uses the slave Caliban from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" to describe religion. During the poem, Caliban passionately speaks about his ideas of creationism.
- Robert Browning's "A Grammarian's Funeral:"In this poem a student is mourning the death of his teacher and delivers a eulogy at his funeral. In addition to describing some of the physical aspects of the funeral it talks about the afterlife.
- Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses:" In this poem Lord Tennyson writes from the perspective of the mythological character Ulysses as he returns to his home town Ithaca. Although Ulysses reunites with his wife and son, he wants to begin traveling again, and the monologue explores his emotions as he craves new adventures.
- Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach:" This poem was written by Arnold while on honeymoon, and it explores his emotions as he struggles with the enjoyment and pain that accompany love. While it is a difficult poem to interpret, much of the imagery is dark, making it particularly suitable for a dramatic monologue.