- (drama) The act of a character speaking to themselves so as to reveal their thoughts to the audience.
- Coordinate term: aside
- At the end of the second act the main villain gave a soliloquy detailing his plans to attack the protagonist.
- 1901, Edmund Selous, Bird Watching, J.M. Dent & Co, London, Chapter XII: Watching Blackbirds, Nightingales, Sand-martins, etc., page 315:
- Yet if I were to say […] that Hamlet's soliloquy had been much over-rated, it would not be said, on this account, that I was unable to appreciate Shakespeare.
- (authorship) A speech or written discourse in this form.
- 1976, Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Kindle edition, OUP Oxford, published 2016, page 126:
- Here is a very over-simplified example, this time expressed in the form of a subjective soliloquy rather than a computer simulation.
Primarily used of theater, particularly the works of William Shakespeare, as a term of art, particularly for finely-crafted speeches. An archetype is the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy in Hamlet. In informal speech or discussions of popular culture, the term monologue is used instead. However, the terms are not precisely synonymous; a monologue is held in the presence and directed towards other characters on the stage, whereas a soliloquy does not acknowledge the presence of any other stage characters if present, and is directed to the audience.
- (very rare) To issue a soliloquy.
- soliloquize (much more common)