The dramatic monologue features a speaker talking to a silent listener about a dramatic event or experience. The use of
this technique affords the reader an intimate knowledge of the
speaker's changing thoughts and feelings. In a sense, the
poet brings the reader inside the mind of the speaker.
(Glenn Everett online)
Like a sculpturer pressing clay to form a man, a writer can create a persona with words. Every stroke of his hand becomes his or her own style, slowly creating this stone image. A dramatic monologue is an ideal opportunity for a poet to unveil a character. A dramatic monologue is a species of lyric poem in which the speaker is a persona created by the poet; the speaker's character is revealed unintentionally through his or her attitudes in the dramatic situation. This persona must be identified, but not named. He or she can be a real person, an imaginary character, an historical or literary figure; in essence, anyone except the poet or a neutral voice. The writer does this through various techniques within a dramatic monologue by using mood, diction and imagery to mold the character before the reader's eyes.
Firstly, by creating a certain mood, the writer attempts to give his or her reader a particular feeling. This, in turn, reveals new insight to a side of the character that the reader has yet to discover.
In William Butler Yeats' poem, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, Yeats adds a very distinct mood to the clay that creates this airman. This man, who very obviously sees no meaning in either his life or his death, speaks carelessly about his non existent self-worth. This creates a dark and depressing atmosphere for the reader. In the finishing lines of this poem, Yeats writes,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life this death.
Through these lines the poet constructs a tone that demonstrates the characte...