But if it is hard for the theatergoer to catch all the meanings in Macbeth's rippling soliloquies, then how much harder is that task when Shakespeare seems unable or unwilling to unpack his obscurities. —James Wood, New Republic, 26 June 2000
A funny thing happened to Billy Joel on the way to the recording studio recently. “I was walking down the street,” he says, “and there was this big guy with long, stringy, greasy hair just talking to the air—screaming, actually. He was in the middle of this angry soliloquy when he looked at me, stopped and said in a regular voice, ‘Hey, Billy, how ya doin'?’ And then he went right back into his tirade.” —Elysa Gardner, Rolling Stone, 10 June 1993
After Allen left, what became known as “The Tonight Show” fell into the hands of a genuine original. Jack Paar was an eminently normal-looking man, a former G.I. entertainer who planted himself at a desk instead of scampering around like Allen had. He would begin his shows in a low, well-modulated voice, exuding a dangerous calm. Then, periodically, but never predictably, he would lurch into disgruntled, pathetic soliloquies, decrying some indignity visited upon him by the network or the press. —Alex Ross, New Republic, 8 Nov. 1993
Dramatic monologue that gives the illusion of being a series of unspoken reflections. An accepted dramatic convention in the 16th–17th centuries, it was used artfully by William Shakespeare to reveal the minds of his characters. Pierre Corneille emphasized its lyricism, while Jean Racine favoured it for dramatic effect. Overused in English Restoration plays (1660–85), it fell into disfavour. Rejected by prose dramatists such as Henrik Ibsen, it was seldom used in late 19th-century naturalist drama. Many 20th-century dramatists also avoided the soliloquy as artificial, though Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, among others, adapted it by introducing narrators who alternately mused on the action and took part in it. It has been used by contemporary playwrights such as John Guare and Brian Friel, and the illusion that the characters are confiding in the audience has proved acceptable to a culture accustomed to the interview and the documentary film.