Difference Between Monologue and Dialogue

Monologue and dialogue are two very important terms that are commonly used in the field of literature. As a student of literature, it is very important to know the differences between the two. Unlike monologue, with the help of dialogue, one or more people can exchange thoughts and ideas.

Monologue vs Dialogue

The main difference between monologue and dialogue is that monologue refers to a long or short speech that is delivered by one single person, whereas a dialogue involves a minimum of two people. Both monologue and dialogue are two devices of literature that are related to speech. It is referred to as the conversation between two or more two people.

Monologue vs Dialogue

A monologue is a type of speech where the person or the character tries to express his feelings, thoughts, or ideas through a speech that is usually long. It does not require or involve other characters. Monologues are used in several types of literary works such as dramas and films which are dramatic works and also non-dramatic works like poetry.

Dialogue is considered to hold a very important role in all works of fiction. It is used in several types of literary works such as short stories, dramas, films, novels, etc. The main purpose of a dialogue is to make the characters interact to make or change decisions within themselves.

Comparison Table Between Monologue and Dialogue

Parameters of ComparisonMonologueDialogue
DefinitionA monologue is a type of long speech which is given by a characterA dialogue is a conversation that takes place between two or more characters.
Type of communicationIt is one-way communication.It is two-way communication.
UsageA monologue is less commonly used.Dialogue is more commonly used.
Involving of  interactionInvolves no interaction.Involves verbal interaction.
Used forIt is used for expressing one’s thoughts or ideas mainly of the character.It is used for exchanging thoughts and ideas between two or more people to come to a conclusion.
Boredom It has a higher chance of getting boring.It has lower chances of getting boring.
Number of characters involvedOnly one character is involved.A minimum of two characters is involved. It can exceed any number of characters.

What is a Monologue?

The word monologue has been derived from the two Greek words, “Monos” and “logos” meaning “alone” and “study” respectively. It is typically a speech that is delivered by one single character, mainly for the expression of their thoughts. It sometimes also addresses the audience or another character indirectly. Monologues have a close resemblance to poems. Some people are likely to get confused between monologues and apostrophes, but they are two distinct terms with a different meanings in literature. Ancient Roman Theatre was found to feature monologues more commonly than the Greek theatres. The inner workings of the character and the motivations can be understood best by monologues.

There are mainly two types of monologues:-

1. Interior monologue- It is a type of monologue where the character is found to express his or her thoughts in front of the audience.

2. Dramatic monologue- It is a type of monologue where one character expresses his or her thoughts to some other character.

Monologues can be divided into two more types:-

1. Active Monologue- Here the speech is given by the character for the achievement of a clear goal.

2. Narrative Monologue- this type of monologue mainly involves storytelling by the character. It is usually done in the past tense.

What is a Dialogue?

The term dialogue has also been derived from a Greek word, “dialogues” which means conversation. It is mainly an exchange of conversation between two and more people. It has a close association with Plato’s developed “Socratic Dialogue”, but relations with other traditions are also found including Indian tradition. Through dialogues, the characters are made to interact, make and change their decisions. The thoughts and ideas of the characters are impossible to understand otherwise. They help the readers or the audience to understand the personalities of the multiple characters in the drama or play, and thus come to a conclusion. In short, it triggers the advancement of the plot. Dialogues are the backbone of a drama. Dialogues also have importance in almost all works of fiction. It is with the help of dialogues one can differentiate between the characters. Dialogues help to portray the internal conflict between the characters.

Dialogues are of two types:-

1. Inner Dialogue- When the dialogues involve one single character and his mind, it is known as inner dialogue.

2. Outer Dialogue- When the dialogues between two characters are said out loud, it is known as outer dialogue.

Main Differences Between Monologue and Dialogue

  1. A monologue involves only one character, whereas a dialogue involves a minimum of two characters.
  2. A monologue is a kind of speech that is given by a person or a character while dialogue is typically a conversation.
  3. Monologues are used less commonly used than dialogues.
  4. A monologue is used to express an individual’s thoughts while dialogue is used to exchange the thoughts or ideas between two or a group of people or characters. 
  5. A monologue involves no interaction but dialogue involves a kind of verbal interaction.
  6. A monologue has a higher chance of being boring than a dialogue.
  7. A monologue is a one-way communication while dialogue is a two-way or multiple-way communication.


The most fundamental part of drama, poetry, or any other work of literature involves monologue and dialogue. Monologues help the audience to understand what a certain character is thinking, and also about the way he is thinking. It is mainly used for the vocalization of the character’s thoughts. It has a very big role in characterization. Dialogue on the other hand also has a purpose of character development similar to monologue. It is the dialogue that takes the plot of the story forward. If a dialogue can be well written, it also catches the attention of the readers more. Thus we can conclude that monologues and dialogues are the roots of literature.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01690965.2010.524765
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0749596X1930083X
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