Some of the most popular monologues come from Shakespeare, such as the famous "To be or not to be" speech from "Hamlet" and the "Out, out, brief candle" monologue from "Macbeth." However, popular monologues also come from modern plays and movies such as "Glengarry Glen Ross" or "Equus."
When "Glengarry Glen Ross" was made into a movie, writer David Mamet wrote an additional scene consisting entirely of a monologue. "Always be closing" is one of the most popular demonstrations of an actor's ability to transmit aggression and command. Similarly, Peter Shaffer's "Equus" has two excellent monologues for male actors. The first is from Act One, Scene 18, and begins, "Do you know what it's like for two people..." The other is at the beginning of Act Two, Scene one and begins "With one particular horse..."
Popular monologues for women include Blanche's from "A Streetcar Named Desire," which begins, "I think you have a great capacity for devotion..." Similarly, "Romeo and Juliet" has one of the most famous speeches in all of English literature: "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" Lastly, "August: Osage County" has a monologue that allows an actress to demonstrate her sense of irony and gallows humor in the speech that begins, "I ever tell you the story of Raymond Qualls?"