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Female Monologues

Monologues for Women

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A list of great Female Monologues

This is a list of great monologues for women. It includes a range of both Dramatic and Comedic monologues. This list comprises mainly of classical texts. Classical texts are typically richer and more challenging: exactly what all actors require to improve their skills. Shakespeare monologues are also fantastic for flexing your actors muscle. Make sure you thoroughly read through the text to understand it’s meaning, looking up any unfamiliar words. A monologue will come alive if it is acutely understood. It is also a must to read the play the monologue is from. Reading the play will give you important information about the character as well as the given circumstances around the monologue: where you are, what has just happened and so on.

The Family Legend (Joanna Baillie)
Helen: O go not from me with that mournful look!
Alas! Thy generous heart, depressed and sunk,
Looks on my state too sadly.
I am not, as thou thinkst, a thing so lost
In woe and wretchedness. Believe not so!
All whom misfortune with her rudest blasts
Hath buffeted, to gloomy wretchedness
Are not therefore abandoned. Many souls
From cloistered cells, from hermits’ caves, from holds
Of lonely banishment, and from the dark
And dreary prison-house, do raise their thoughts
With humble cheerfulness to heaven, and feel
A hallowed quiet, almost akin to joy;
And may not I, by heaven’s kind mercy aided,
Weak as I am, with some good courage bear
What is appointed for me? O be cheered!
And let not sad and mournful thoughts of me
Depress thee thus. When thou art far away,
Thou’lt hear, the while, that in my father’s house
I spend my peaceful days, and let it cheer thee.
I too shall every southern stranger question,
Whom chance may to these regions bring, and learn
Thy fame and prosperous state.

Background Information: Helen, a young noble woman, does all she can to make her love Sir Hubert de Grey feel better about leaving. She fights through her sadness to make him feel better. Beautiful.


Buffeted: hit repeatedly (beaten), often by storms or adversities.

Wretchedness: is the feeling of being uncomfortable, miserable or inferior. Contemptible.

Cloistered: reclusive, secluded, often related to being in a monastery or other religious order that is isolated from the world.

Akin: similar to in character, related in some way. If you are related by blood you are akin.

The Bachelor Party (Paddy Chayefsky)

It’s only a bachelor party. What can they do? Get a little drunk? Charlie doesn’t drink, anyway. What do you think they’re going to do, find some girls in the street? If some girl came over to Charlie, he would sit there, frowning and thinking it all out for about an hour, and then he’d get up and he’d say: ‘Well, miss, I really don’t think so.’

He’s so sweet, you know? I guess this is the way you get when you’re having a baby. Everything and everybody seems rosy to you. I look at Charlie sometimes, and he looks handsome to me. I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and I look down at him. he looks so sweet. So I pushed him a little. So he says, ‘What?’ His eyes are still closed. He’s still sleeping. I said: ‘Charlie, you love me?’ So he says – his eyes are half closed, he can hardly keep awake – he says: ‘What do you mean, how much? What do you want me to do, write out a profit-and-loss statement?’ he’s a bookkeeper, you know. I thought that was so funny. Don’t you think that’s funny? Well, it sounds stupid now, but in the middle of the night like that – he was half asleep – it sounded so funny. I just lay in bed giggling for about half an hour. I’m crazy about him.

The Seagull (Anton Chekhov)
Nina: Why do you say that you kissed the ground on which I walked? You should kill me. I’m exhausted. If only I could rest…rest! I am a seagull…that’s not right. I am an actress. Yes! (Hearing Arkadina) And he’s here…Yes…It doesn’t matter…Yes…He didn’t believe in the theatre, he went on mocking my dreams, and little by little I too stopped believing and lost heart…And then came the troubles of love, jealousy, the constant fear for my child…I became petty, worthless, I acted mindlessly…I didn’t know what to do with my hand, didn’t know how to stand on the stage, wasn’t in control of my voice. You can’t understand what it’s like to feel you’re acting terribly. I am a seagull. No, that’s not right…Do you remember, you shot a seagull? A man just came along, saw it and killed it from having nothing to do…A plot for a short story. That’s not right. What was I…? I was talking about the stage. Now I am not so…I am now a real actress, I act with enjoyment, with ecstasy, I get intoxicated on the stage and feel that I’m beautiful. And now, while I’ve been staying here, I’ve walked everywhere, I walk and walk, and think, think and feel how everyday my spiritual powers grow…Kostya, I know now, I understand. In what we do – whether we act on the stage or write – the most important thing isn’t fame or glory or anything I used to dream about – but the ability to endure. To know how to bear your cross and have faith. I have faith, and my pain is less, and when I think about my vocation I’m not afraid of life.

Three Sisters (Anton Chekhov)
Irena: Tell me, why is it I’m so happy today? As if I were sailing, with the wide, blue sky above me, and great white birds soaring in the wind. Why is it? Why? I woke up this morning, I got up, I washed – and suddenly I felt everything in this world was clear to me – I felt I knew how life had to be lived. Dear Ivan Romanich, I can see it all. A human being has to labour, whoever he happens to be, he has to toil in the sweat of his face; that’s the only way he can find the sense and purpose of his life, his happiness, his delight. How fine to be a working man who rises at first light and breaks stones on the road, or a shepherd, or a teacher, or an engine driver on the railway… Lord, never mind being human even – better to be an ox, better to be a simple horse, just so long as you work – anything rather than a young lady who rises at noon, then drinks her coffee in bed, then takes two hours to dress… that’s terrible! In hot weather sometimes you long to drink the way I began longing to work. And if I don’t start getting up early and working, then shut your heart against me, Ivan Romanich.

Marriage (Nikolai Gogol)
Agafya: Honestly, this choosing business is so difficult. If there were just one or two, but four! Take your pick. Mr Anuchkin isn’t bad-looking, but he’s a bit skinny, of course. And Mr Podkolyosin isn’t too bad, either. And truth to tell, though he’s rather stout, Mr Omelet’s still a fine figure of a man. So what am I to do, if you please? Mr Zhevakin’s also a man of distinction. It really is difficult to decide, you can’t begin to describe it. Now, if you could attach Mr Anuchkin’s lips to Mr Podkolyosin’s nose, and take some of Mr Zhevakin’s easy manner, and perhaps add Mr Omelet’s solid build, I could decide on the spot. But now I’ve got to rack my brains! And it’s giving me a fearsome headache. I think it’d be best to draw lots. Turn the whole matter over to God’s will, and whichever one comes out, that’ll be my husband. I’ll write all their names on a bit of paper, roll them up tight, then so be it. (She goes to her desk, gets some paper and writes the names on them.) Life’s so trying for a girl, especially when she’s in love. It’s something no man will ever understand, and anyway they just don’t want to. Now, that’s them ready! All that remains is to put them in my purse, shut my eyes, and that’s it – what will be, will be. (She places papers in her purse and give it a shake.) This is dreadful… oh God, please make it Anuchkin! No, why him? Better Mr Podkolyosin. But why Mr Podkolyosin? In what way are the others worse? No, no, I won’t… whichever comes out, so be it. (She rummages in her purse and pulls them all out instead of one.) Oh! All of them! They’ve all come out! And my heart’s pounding. No, no, it’s got to be one! (She puts the papers back in her purse.) Oh, if only I could draw out Baltazar… no, what am I saying? I mean Mr Anuchkin…no, I won’t, I won’t. Let fate decide.

Mirandolina (Carlo Goldoni)
Mirandolina: Huh! Marry Him! His Excellency Signor the Marquis Skinflint. That would be the day! The husbands I’d have, if I’d married all that had wanted to marry me! They’ve only got to enter this Inn and they fall in love with me and think they can marry me on the spot. Except this Signor Baron, the ill-mannered lout! What right’s he got to think himself too high and mighty to be civil to me? Nobody else who’s ever stopped at this Inn has ever treated me so! I certainly don’t expect him to fall in love with me at first sight—but to behave like that! That sort of thing infuriates me. So he hates women? Doesn’t want anything to do with them? The poor fool. He hasn’t met the woman yet who knows how to set about him. But he will. Oh, yes, he will, all right. And, who knows if he hasn’t just met her. Yes, this fellow might be exactly what I need. I’m sick to death of men who run after me. As for marriage—there’s plenty of time for that. I want to enjoy my freedom first. And here’s a chance to really enjoy it. Yes, I’ll use every art I have to conquer this enemy of women!

Skylight (David Hare)

‘Female’?  That’s a very odd choice of word.  You see I’m afraid I think this is typical.  It’s something that happened… it’s only happened of late.  That people should need to ask why I’m helping these children.  I’m helping them because they need to be helped. 

Everyone makes merry, discussing motive.  Of course she does this.  She works in the East End.  She only does it because she’s unhappy.  She does it because of a lack in herself.  She doesn’t have a man.  If she had a man, she wouldn’t need to do it.  Do you think she’s a dyke?  She must be fucked up, she must be an Amazon, she must be a weirdo to choose to work where she does … Well I say, what the hell does it matter why I’m doing it?  Why anyone goes out and helps?  The reason is hardly of primary importance.  If I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done. 

I’m tired of these sophistries.  I’m tired of these right-wing fuckers.  They wouldn’t lift a finger themselves.  They work contentedly in offices and banks.  Yet now they sit pontificating in parliament, in papers, impugning our motives, questioning our judgements.  And why?  Because they themselves need to feel better by putting down everyone whose work is so much harder than theirs.  (She stands, nodding) You only have to say the words ‘social worker’ … probation officer’ … ‘counsellor’ …for everyone in this country to sneer.  Do you know what social workers do?  Every day?  They try and clear out society’s drains.  They clear out the rubbish.  They do what no one else is doing, what no one else is willing to do.  And for that, oh Christ, do we thank them?  No, we take our own rotten consciences, wipe them all over the social worker’s face, and say ‘if …’ FUCK! ‘if I did the job, then of course if I did it … oh no, excuse me, I wouldn’t do it like that …’ (She turns, suddenly aggressive.) Well I say: ‘OK, then, fucking do it, journalist.  Politician, talk to the addicts.  Hold families together.  Stop the kids from stealing the streets.  Deal with couples who beat each other up.  You fucking try it, why not?  Since you’re so full of advice.  Sure, come and join us.  This work is one casino.  By all means.  Anyone can play.  But there’s only one rule.  You can’t play for nothing.  You have to buy some chips to sit at the table.  And if you won’t play with your own time … with your own effort … then I’m sorry.  Fuck off!’

Tamburlaine the Great (Christopher Marlowe)
Zenocrate: Earth, cast up fountains from thy entrails,

And wet thy cheeks for their untimely deaths;
Shake with their weight in sign of fear and grief.
Blush, heaven, that gave them honour at their birth
And let them die a death so barbarous.
Those that are proud of fickle empery
And place their chiefest good in earthly pomp,
Behold the Turk and his great emperess!
Ah, Tamburlaine, my love, sweet Tamburlaine,
That fights for scepters and for slippery crowns,
Behold the Turk and his great emperess!
Thou that in conduct of thy happy stars
Sleep’st every night with conquest on thy brows,
And yet wouldst shun the wavering turns of war,
In fear and feeling of the like distress
Behold the Turk and his great emperess!
Ah, mighty Jove and holy Mahomet,
Pardon my love! O, pardon his contempt
Of earthly fortune and respect of pity,
And let not conquest, ruthlessly pursu’d,
Be equally against his life incens’d
In this great Turk and hapless emperess!
And pardon me that was not mov’d with ruth
To see them live so long in misery!–
Ah, what may chance to thee, Zenocrate?

Britannicus (Jean Racine)
Albina: The Emperor is condemned to an unending sorrow.
She is not dead, she is – where Nero may not follow.
When she escaped from here, she ran as if to go
To see Octavia, but then she took a road
That leads to nowhere. I watched her as she ran, distraught,
Out of the palace gates. She soon found what she sought,
The statue of Augustus. Falling down, she wept
At the marble feet, her arms around him, prayed: ‘Accept
My prayers, Prince; by this cold stone that I embrace,
Protect, both now and henceforth, the last of all your race.
Rome has just seen the murder of the only one
Of all of us who worthily could have called himself your son.
They wished me to betray him after he had died.
But I must keep faith with him. So I here decide
To dedicate myself to that eternal god,
Whose altar you now share, your virtue’s just reward.’
Meanwhile the people, by the confusion worse confounded,
Press on her from all sides, until she is surrounded
By a multitude, that, moved by her tears, and pitying
Her obvious distress, take her beneath their wing,
And lead her to the temple, where they still maintain,
As in ages past, the eternal Vestal flame.
Nero sees all of this, but does not dare to enter:
Narcissus, more intent to please, makes for the centre,
Approaching Junia, fearlessly, with utter lack
Of shame, begins, profanely, to try to force her back –
A blasphemy that falls victim to a hundred blows:
His sacrilegious blood incontinently flows,
Drenching Junia. Nero, barely comprehending
What he is looking at, abandons him to his bloody ending –
And goes back. All avoid him. Silent, grim,
Junia’s name the only sound that comes from him.

Antigone (Sophocles)
Antigone: So to my grave,
My bridal-bower, my everlasting prison,
I go, to join those many of my kinsmen
Who dwell in the mansions of Persephone,
Last and unhappiest, before my time.
Yet I believe my father will be there
To welcome me, my mother greet me gladly,
And you, my brother, gladly see me come.
Each one of you my hands have laid to rest,
Pouring the due libations on your graves.
It was by this service to your dear body, Polynices,
I earned the punishment which now I suffer,
Though all good people know it was for your honour.
O but I would not have done the forbidden thing
For any husband or for any son.
For why? I could have had another husband
And by him other sons, if one were lost;
But, father and mother lost, where would I get
Another brother? For thus preferring you,
My brother, Creon condemns me and hales me away,
Never a bride, never a mother, unfriended,
Condemned alive to solitary death.
What law of heaven have I transgressed? What god
Can save me now? What help or hope have I,
In whom devotion is deemed sacrilege?
If this is God’s will, I shall learn my lesson
In death; but if my enemies are wrong,
I wish them no worse punishment than mine.

The Duchess of Malfi (John Webster)
Duchess: The misery of us, that are born great,
We are forc’d to woo, because none dare woo us:
And as a tyrant doubles with his words,
And fearfully equivocates: so we
Are forc’d to express our violent passions
In riddles, and in dreams, and leave the path
Of simple virtue, which was never made
To seem the thing it is not. Go, go brag
You have left me heartless, mine is in your bosom,
I hope ‘twill multiply love there. You do tremble:
Make not your heart so dead a piece of flesh
To fear, more than to love me. Sir, be confident,
What is’t distracts you? This is flesh, and blood, sir,
‘Tis not the figure cut in alabaster
Kneels at my husband’s tomb. Awake, awake, man!
I do here put off all vain ceremony,
And only do appear to you, a young widow
That claims you for her husband, and like a widow,
I use but half a blush in’t.

The Relapse (John Vanburgh)
Berinthia: What think you of springing a mine? I have a thought just now come into my head, how to blow her up at once… Faith, I’ll do’t; and thus the execution of it shall be. We are all invited to my Lord Foppington’s tonight to supper; he’s come to town with his bride, and makes a ball, with an entertainment of music. Now, you must know, my undoer here, Loveless, says he must needs meet me about some private business (I don’t know what ‘tis) before we go to the company. To which end he has told his wife one lie, and I have told her another. But to make her amends, I’ll go immediately, and tell her a solemn truth. I’ll tell her that to my certain knowledge her husband has a rendezvous with his mistress this afternoon; and that if she’ll give me her word she’ll be satisfied with the discovery, without making any violent inquiry after the woman, I’ll direct her to a place where she shall see ‘em meet. Now, friend, this I fancy may help you to a critical minute. For home she must go again to dress. You (with your good breeding) come to wait upon us to the ball, find her all alone, her spirit inflamed against her husband for his treason, and her flesh in a heat from some contemplations upon the treachery, her blood on a fire, her conscience in ice; a lover to draw, and the devil to drive. – Ah, poor Amanda!

Volpone (Ben Jonson)
Celia: Good sir, these things might move a mind affected
With such delights; but I, whose innocence
Is all I can think wealthy or worth th’ enjoying,
And which, once lost, I have nought to lose beyond it,
Cannot be taken with these sensual baits:
If you have conscience –
If you have ears that will be pierced; or eyes
That can be opened; a heart that may be touched;
Or any part that yet sounds man about you:
If you have touch of holy saints, or heaven,
Do me the grace to let me ‘scape. If not,
Be bountiful, and kill me. You do know
I am a creature hither ill-betrayed
By one whose shame I would forget it were.
If you will deign me neither of these graces,
Yet feed your wrath, sir, rather than your lust
(It is a vice comes nearer manliness)
And punish that unhappy crime of Nature
Which you miscall my beauty: flat my face,
Or poison it with ointments, for seducing
Your blood in this rebellion. Rub these hands
With what may cause an eating leprosy
E’en to my bones and marrow; anything
That may disfavour me, save in my honour.
And I will kneel to you, pray for you, pay down
A thousand hourly vows, sir, for your health;
Report and think you virtuous –
Oh! Just God!

Salome (Oscar Wilde)
Salome: There is no sound. I hear nothing. Why does he not cry out, this man? Ah, if any man sought to kill me, I would cry out, I would struggle, I would not suffer…Strike, strike, Naaman, strike, I tell you…No, I hear nothing. There is a silence, a terrible silence. Ah! Something has fallen upon the ground. I heard something fall. It is the sword of the headsman. He is afraid, this slave. He has let his sword fall. He dare not kill him. He is a coward, this slave! Let soldiers be sent. (She sees the Page of Herodias and addresses him.) Come hither! Thou wert the friend of him who is dead, is it not so? Well, I tell thee, there are not dead men enough. Go to the soldiers and bid them go down and bring me the thing I ask, the thing the Tetrarch has promised me, the thing that is mine. (The Page recoils. She turns to the soldiers.) Hither, ye soldiers. Get ye down into the cistern and bring me the head of this man. Tetrarch, Tetrarch, command your soldiers that they bring me the head of Jokanaan.

The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)
Lady Bracknell: Well, I must say, Algernon, that I think it is high time that Mr Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or die. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd. Nor do I in any way approve of the modern sympathy with invalids. I consider it morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others. Health is the primary duty of life. I am always telling that to your poor uncle, but he never seems to take much notice . . . as far as any improvement in his ailment goes. I should be much obliged if you would ask Mr Bunbury, from me, to be kind enough not to have a relapse on Saturday, for I rely on you to arrange my music for me. It is my last reception, and one wants something that will encourage conversation, particularly at the end of the season when everyone has practically said whatever they had to say, which, in most cases, was probably not much.

The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)
Gwendolen: Oh! It is strange he never mentioned to me that he had a ward. How secretive of him! He grows more interesting hourly. I am not sure, however, that the news inspires me with feelings of unmixed delight. I am very fond of you, Cecily: I have liked you ever since I met you! But I am bound to state that now that I know that you are Mr. Worthing’s ward, I cannot help expressing a wish you were – well, just a little older than you seem to be – and not quite so very alluring in appearance. In fact, if I may speak candidly, I wish that you were fully forty-two, and more than usually plain for your age. Ernest has a strong upright nature. He is the very soul of truth and honour. Disloyalty would be as impossible to him as deception. But even men of the noblest possible moral character are extremely susceptible to the influence of the physical charms of others. Modern, no less than Ancient History, supplies us with many most painful examples of what I refer to. If it were not so, indeed, History would be quite unreadable.

Need help working your monologue? Check out our guide on Performing a Soliloquy (Monologue).

About the Author

Samuel Campbell

is Stage Milk's core writer. He is a trained, Sydney based actor who writes the majority of our acting information.

4 Responses to “Monologues for Women”

  1. Maria Pamela says:

    Interesting and honest, great resource, thanks.

  2. Jade says:

    Great site! Fantastic resource. Thank you!

  3. Harriet Ruddick says:

    I need a female monologue that was from a play written between 1800-1980 that is 3-5 minutes. Any help?

  4. Mary says:

    I am actually trying out for booker.t and need a monologue this was very helpful!

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