For guys who want to become the next top Hollywood heartthrob, studying our list of the 10 best male monologues from plays is never a bad idea. Too many aspiring drama aficionados try to jump right into the heavy stuff, learning movie monologues and ignoring the complex preparation these actors undergo. Here are some basics that will help you get started and broaden your horizons about fine performance art.
- "Antigone" Haemon's speech to his ill-fated father in Sophocles' famous ancient Greek masterwork may not have made much a difference to the egotistical Creon, but it smacks of reason and common sense. His attempt to appeal to his father's love of his own image is laden with allusion and metaphors that warrant close examination.
- "Hamlet" The eponymous title character's "To be or not to be" monologue is one of the most well known in Western theater. This angst-filled examination of the troubles of life that plagued prince Hamlet throughout the play ends in more tragedy akin to that which preceded it.
- "The Phantom of the Opera" Erik's final accounting of the kiss that may very well saved his soul is a real tear-jerker. This final male monologue pretty much sums up the essence of the problems the young deformed man experienced all his life.
- "Tartuffe" Moliere's most famous work contains a great male monologue from a supporting character. Cleante's well-reasoned attack on the fraudulent Tartuffe, who threatens to tear the family household apart, was a great discourse on contemporary European society that is still entirely applicable today.
- "Ivanov" In Chekhov's tale of a historical midlife crisis, the titular character examines his relationship with his browbeaten and abused wife Anna. In an attempt to explain his depression and changing personality to his buddy Lvov, he makes some eye opening statements about his own character and self-worth.
- "Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich" Godunoff's monologue in Tolstoy's examination of the titular ruler is a crucial turning point in Russian literary theater. While the play was censored in its time, this male monologue examining the difference between the "great volcano," Ivan the Terrible, and his kind, yet ineffective son, Fyodor, is made quite poignant through its use of stunning allegorical imagery.
- "As You Like It" The despondent Jacques' "All the world's a stage" male monologue is another well-known Shakespearean classic. In it, he examines the role of man in his environment throughout seven states of being or stages.
- "Prometheus Unbound" The main character's discourse on how "Evil minds change good to their own nature" is one of the great literary art pieces on comparative morality ever written in the Western world. In exemplary Romantic tradition, Shelley brought the karmic nature of action and retribution common to Indian philosophical thought to a wider audience.
- "Man and Superman" George Bernard Shaw's Tanner has a very interesting male monologue in this play. He examines the failings of the artist in great detail, touching on social, personal and financial issues, leading the playgoer to wonder to what degree Shaw was commenting on his own craft.
- "Medea" No one who has seen this classic Euripides play would doubt that Jason's an complete jerk, but his diatribe on how the human race would be better off, "had children been produced by other means," is only made more amusing because of the character's ignorance. This male monologue provides a great comedic relief point in a play full of horrible tragedy.
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