Monologues for Women | Audition Pieces for Women
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 Libertine (Stephen Jeffries)
Elizabeth:

You have no understanding, do you? You have comprehended – just – that I am tired of being your mistress and your solution is to conscript me into becoming your wife. It is not being a mistress I am tired of, John. I am tired of you. I do not wish to be your wife. I do not wish to be anyone’s wife. I wish to continue being the creature I am. I am no Nell Gwyn, I will not give up the stage as soon as a King or a Lord has seen me on it and, wishing me to be his and his alone, will then pay a fortune to keep me off it. I am not the sparrow you picked up in the roadside, my love. London walks into this theatre to see me – not George’s play nor Mr. Betterton. They want me and they want me over and over again. And when people desire you in such a manner, then you can envisage a steady river of gold lapping at your doorstep, not five pound here or there for pity or bed favours, not a noble’s ransom for holding you hostage from the thing you love, but a lifetime of money amassed through your own endeavours. That is riches. ‘Leave this gaudy, gilded stage’. You’re right, this stage is gilded. It is gilded with my future earnings. And I will not trade those for a dependency on you. I will not swap my certain glory for your undependable love.

The Bachelor Party (Paddy Chayefsky)
Helen:

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.

Private Lives (Noel Coward)
Amanda:
I think very few people are completely normal really, deep down in their private lives. It all depends on a combination of circumstances. If the various cosmic thingummies fuse at the same moment, and the right spark is struck, there’s no knowing what one mightn’t do. That was the trouble with Elyot and me, we were like two violent acids bubbling about in a nasty little matrimonial bottle.

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!

Plenty (David Hare)
Susan:

Motoring together it was easier to say we were man and wife. In fact I was barely even his mistress. He simply rang me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d like a holiday abroad. I was amazed. People in our organisation really didn’t know each other all that well. You made it your business to know as little as possible, it was a point of principle. Even now you don’t know who most of your colleagues were. Perhaps you were in it. Perhaps I met you. I don’t know. (Pause.) Tony I knew a little better, not much, but I was glad when he rang. Those of us who went through this kind of war, I think we do have something in common. It’s a kind of impatience, we’re rather intolerant, we don’t suffer fools. And so we get rather restless back in England, the people who stayed behind seem childish and a little silly. If you haven’t suffered … well. And so driving through Europe with Tony I knew that at least I’d be able to act as I pleased for a while. That’s all. (Pause.) It’s kind of you not to have told the ambassador.

Skylight (David Hare)
Kyra:

‘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!’

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!

After the End (Dennis Kelly)
Louise (Female 20s): I think a lot about what makes people do things. What makes us behave in certain ways, you know. Every night I’ve been thinking about this. Trapped in whatever, behaviour, I dunno, cycles of violence or something and is it possible to break, these cycles, is it possible to break… And I’d be sitting there thinking about this and this cat, this gorgeous cat with no tail would come to my door. I’d have the back door open because the garden looks, and she’d be terrified at first, it looks beautiful it really does. So I bought some food for her and the first time she just sniffed at it and ran away, the moment I moved, you know, no sign of her for the rest of the night, and I’m thinking, reactions and responses, patterns, violence breeding violence, and the next night she’s in a bit further and I’m looking at her tail thinking ‘that’s been cut off’ and I don’t think it was, I think she’s a Manx, I think they’re born without tails, and the next night she’s further in and I’m beginning to get used to this, beginning to look forward to it. And the next night she’s in and she’s eating and from then on she’s in every night; she’s on my lap she’s following me around, she’s wating on the window ledge for me when I get home. And we sit there every night and I’m thinking behaviour and patterns and is it actually possible to break these patterns of whatever and she’s eating and meowing to be let in. Every night. And one night she scratches me, out of the blue, cats, you know, just a vindictive cat-scratch, look: (Shows him.) See?

She knew she’d done wrong. Took her three nights to get back into my lap. And I’m stroking her and thinking. Warm, delicate, you know. And I put my hands around her neck. And I squeeze. And I squeeze. Until her neck is about the thickness of a rope. And I still squeeze. And I’m sitting there – and this is last night – with this dead cat in my lap, and I thought I’d come in and see you. And here I am.

The Black Sequin Dress (Jenny Kemp)
Woman 1: I can see a beautiful nightclub. Black shiny surfaces, all polished and clean, sparkling glasses full of champagne, gin and tonic, cocktails, liqueurs etc. Women melting into their partners’ bodies, the men wrapped around them like blankets. The band, in a row laid back, handsome. Snacks, cards, cigarettes, money, lipstick, watches, jewellery, high stools, dancing, wild dancing, bare bodies under not much. They abandon themselves here. Get out of their day shoes and set off at a gallop, drinks whizzing down the gullet, talk gurgling up, hands wandering all over the place, anywhere will do, who cares.They have learned how not to care, how here to let go the reins.

They want to show off, they want to fall in love with the moment and it to fall in love with them. Greedy are they? No, not greedy. Hungry.

I love, I love, I love, love they think. Love me, me, me, me, all of me. Fill me up, fill me up. I’ve had a bath, I’ve put on my deodorant, my clothes are impeccable. Now now now do the next bit, come over they seem to be screaming.

Come over here and really fill me up with something significant something – of value. A right word a soft word at just the right moment straight down the ear hole, ping bullseye, right to the hungry spot, ping and then ah, ah, that was it. Got it thank you, now anything I can do for you back? No, yes, not a sure thing at all, perhaps not.

Or someone could walk up their timing perfect, and stand fitting the shape of me. Perfection, it would register. I would breath out, relax and they would sit and put a hand out somewhere on the table, it would contact my hand and ping down the arm would go, the message and it would run up the shoulder into the head, down whiz straight to the heart and zoom, zing the genitals aflame. And my dress would fill up with light. I would wake up and dance I would jump off the end of the pier, free fall. And he would fly over the end after me splash, gurgle gurgle gurgle.

And down we go.

Blood Wedding (Federico Garcia Lorca)

Beggar Woman:
The moon goes in and they come nearer.
Here they shall stay. The lacerated
Flight of their screams
Will be stifled
By the voice of the trees, and the voice of the river.
This is the place. This is the time.
I am tired. On bedroom floors
The coffins lie open
The white sheets are spread
For heavy bodies
With their throats cut. And the birds
Will go on sleeping. The wind
Will bundle their cries
In her skirt and fly off with them
Over the dark trees,
Or bury them
In soft mud.
The Moon! The Moon!

Blood Wedding (Federico Garcia Lorca)

Maid:
It is turning. The great wheel is turning for the water is flowing. And the water is flowing because the wedding has come. The branches are parted and the moon stands aglow on her platinum balcony. Set the table! The lovers have sung, but the water still flows. It flows because the wedding has come. Bring out the frosted fruits and the candied bitter almonds! Prepare the wine! (Pause.) Wonderful girl. Girl of our lands. Watch how the water flows. It flows from your wedding. Gather your skirts and stay in your home. Hide under the wing of your man. Because your husband is now a terrifying angel, a warlike peacemaker, and yet … Uh! Listen … Now the countryside wakes in pure anticipation, because a rumour of bloodshed is spilled. The great wheel is turning Because the water is flowing, and now the wedding has come. Let the dark water shine!

Oleanna (David Mamet)
Carol: Professor, I came here as a favour. At your personal request. Perhaps I
should not have done so. But I did. On my behalf, and on behalf of my
group. And you speak of the tenure committee, one of whose members is a
woman, as you know. And though you might call it Good Fun, or An
Historical Phrase, or An Oversight, or All of the Above, to refer to the
committee as Good Men and True, it is a demeaning remark. It is a sexist
remark, and to overlook it is to countenance continuation of that method of
thought. You love the Power. I’m sorry. You feel yourself empowered …
you say so yourself. To strut. To posture. To “perform.” To “Call me in
here…” Eh? You say that higher education is a joke. And treat it as such,
you treat it as such. And confess to a taste to play the Patriarch in your
class. To grant this. To deny that. To embrace your students. And you
think it’s charming to “question” in yourself this taste to mock and destroy.
But you should question it. Professor. And you pick those things which you
feel advance you: publication, tenure, and the steps to get them you call
“harmless rituals.” And you perform those steps. Although you say it is
hypocrisy. But to the aspirations of your students. Of hardworking
students
, who come here, who slave to come here – you have no idea what
it cost me to come to this school – you mock us. You call education
“hazing” and from your so-protected, so-elitist seat you hold our confusion
as a joke, and hopes and efforts with it. Then you sit there and say “what
have I done?” And ask me to understand that you have aspirations too. But
I tell you. I tell you. That you are vile. And that you are exploitative. And if
you possess one ounce of that inner honesty you describe in your book, you
can look in yourself and see those things that I see. And you can find
revulsion equal to my own. Good Day. (she prepares to leave the room)

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.

Phedre (Jean Racine)
Phedre:

Each moment’s precious to me, Theseus, listen.
It was I who cast my eyes, profane, incestuous
On that son of yours, so chaste and virtuous.
Heaven lit the fatal flame within my breast:
That detestable Oenone managed all the rest.
She feared lest Hippolytus, learning of my ardour,
Might reveal a passion that filled him with horror.
The traitress, profiting from my profound weakness,
Hurried to you to denounce him to your face.
She has punished herself, and escaped my anger,
By seeking in the waves a far gentler torture.
A blade would have already ended my fate too:
But I wished to let virtue, suspected, cry to you.
I wished, in exposing my remorse to you,
To go down to the dead by a slower route.
I have taken…I have spread through my burning veins,
A poison that Medea brought to Athens.
Already the venom flows towards my heart,
An unaccustomed chill pierces my dying heart:
Already I see as if through a clouded sky,
Heaven, and a husband my presence horrifies.
And Death, from my eyes, stealing the clarity,
Gives back to the day, defiled, all his purity.

 

 

Mrs Warrens Profession (George Bernard Shaw)
Mrs Warren: No, you don’t understand. I do. Liz called herself a widow and had a fried-fish shop down by the Mint, and kept herself and four daughters out of it. Two of us were sisters: that was me and Liz; and we were both good-looking and well made. I suppose our father was a well-fed man: mother pretended he was a gentleman; but I don’t know. The other two were only half sisters: undersized, ugly, starved looking, hard working, honest poor creatures: Liz and I would have half-murdered them if mother hadn’t half-murdered us to keep our hands off them. They were the respectable ones. Well, what did they get by their respectability? I’ll tell you. One of them worked in a whitelead factory twelve hours a day for nine shillings a week until she died of lead poisoning. She only expected to get her hands a little paralyzed; but she died. The other was always held up to us as a model because she married a Government laborer in the Deptford victualling yard, and kept his room and the three children neat and tidy on eighteen shillings a week—until he took to drink. That was worth being respectable for, wasn’t it? Liz didn’t, I can tell you: she had more spirit. We both went to a church school—that was part of the ladylike airs we gave ourselves to be superior to the children that knew nothing and went nowhere—and we stayed there until Liz went out one night and never came back. I know the schoolmistress thought I’d soon follow her example; for the clergyman was always warning me that Lizzie’d end by jumping off Waterloo Bridge. Poor fool: that was all he knew about it! But I was more afraid of the whitelead factory than I was of the river; and so would you have been in my place. That clergyman got me a situation as a scullery maid in a temperance restaurant where they sent out for anything you liked. Then I was a waitress; and then I went to the bar at Waterloo station: fourteen hours a day serving drinks and washing glasses for four shillings a week and my board. That was considered a great promotion for me. Well, one cold, wretched night, when I was so tired I could hardly keep myself awake, who should come up for a half of Scotch but Lizzie, in a long fur cloak, elegant and comfortable, with a lot of sovereigns in her purse. She’s living down at Winchester now, close to the cathedral, one of the most respectable ladies there. Chaperones girls at the country ball, if you please. No river for Liz, thank you! You remind me of Liz a little: she was a first-rate business woman—saved money from the beginning—never let herself look too like what she was—never lost her head or threw away a chance. When she saw I’d grown up good-looking she said to me across the bar “What are you doing there, you little fool? wearing out your health and your appearance for other people’s profit!” Liz was saving money then to take a house for herself in Brussels; and she thought we two could save faster than one. So she lent me some money and gave me a start; and I saved steadily and first paid her back, and then went into business with her as a partner. Why shouldn’t I have done it? The house in Brussels was real high class: a much better place for a woman to be in than the factory where Anne Jane got poisoned. None of the girls were ever treated as I was treated in the scullery of that temperance place, or at the Waterloo bar, or at home.

The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Neil Simon)
Elaine:

You hypocrite! You soul-searching, finger-smelling, hypocritical son of a bitch! Who are you to tell anybody how to go through life? What would you have done if I came in here all fluttery and blushing and ‘Ooh, Mr Cashman, don’t put your hand there, I’m a married woman’? Were you going to tell me how much you respect me? You know damn well tomorrow you’d be back behind that counter opening clams and praying to Christ I’d never come back in your restaurant. And you know something? That’s the way it should be. Forgive me for the terrible, sinful thing I’m about to say but I happen to like the pure physical act of making love. It warms me, it stimulates me and it makes me feel like a woman – but that’s another ugly story. That’s what I came up here for and that’s what you were expecting. But don’t give me, ‘When I was nine years old my mother ran off with the butcher and I’ve been looking for someone to love me ever since.’ I don’t know your problems and I don’t care. Keep your savory swordfish succotash stories to yourself. No one really cares about anything or anyone in this world except himself, and there’s only one way to get through with your sanity. If you can’t taste it, touch it or smell it, forget it! If you want a copy of that speech, send fifty cents and self-addressed envelope –

It’s getting late … and I have to feed the lion at six..

Don’t waste your time. We’re incompatible. You need Joan Fontaine and I need a box of lozenges.

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!

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.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Tennessee Williams)
Maggie: Brick, y’know I’ve been so God damn disgustingly poor all my life!- That’s the truth, Brick!
Always had to suck up to people I couldn’t stand because they had money and I was poor as Job’s turkey. You don’t know what it’s like. Well, I’ll tell you, it’s like you would feel a thousand miles away from Echo Spring!- And had to get back to it on that broken ankle… without a crutch!
That’s how it feels to be as poor as Job’s turkey and have to suck up to relatives that you hated because they had money and all you had was a bunch of hand-me-down clothes and a few old moldy three per cent government bonds. My daddy loved his liquor, he fell in love with his liquor the same way you’ve fallen in love with Echo Spring!- And my poor Mama, having to maintain some semblance of social position, to keep appearances up, on an income of one hundred and fifty dollars a month on those old government bonds!
When I came out, the year I made my debut, I had just two evening dresses! One Mother made me from a pattern in Vogue, the other a hand-me-down from a snotty rich cousin I hated! -The dress that I married you in was my grandmother’s weddin’ gown… So that’s why I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof!
You can be young without money but you can’t be old without it. You’ve got to be old with money because to be old without it is just too awful, you’ve got to be one or the other, either young or with money, you can’t be old and without it.- That’s the truth, Brick…

Sweet Bird of Youth (Tennessee Williams)
Heavenly: Don’t give me your “Voice of God” speech, Papa, there was a time when you could have saved me, by letting me marry a boy that was still young and clean, but instead you drove him away, drove him out of St. Cloud. And when he came back, you took me out of St. Cloud, and tried to force me to marry a fifty-year-old money bag that you wanted something out of – and then another, another, all of them ones you wanted something out of. I’d gone, so Chance went away. Tried to compete, make himself big as these big-shots you wanted to use me for a bond with. He went. He tried. The right doors wouldn’t open, and so he went in the wrong ones, and – Papa, you married for love, why wouldn’t you let me do it, while I was alive, inside, and the boy was still clean, still decent? You married for love, but you wouldn’t let me do it, and even though you’d done it, you broke Mama’s heart. Miss Lucy was your mistress long before Mama died. And Mama was just in front of you. (pause) Can I go in now, Papa? Can I go in now, Papa? I’m sorry my operation has brought this embarrassment on you, but can you imagine it, Papa? I felt worse than embarrassed when I found out that Dr George Scudder’s knife had cut the youth out of my body, made me a childless woman. Dry, cold, empty, like an old woman. I feel as if I ought to rattle like a dead dried-up vine when the Gulf Wind blows, but, Papa – I won’t embarrass you any more.

Monologues for Women

Need help working on your monologue? Check out our guide on Performing a Soliloquy (Monologue). The main thing is to keep it simple, make sure you read the play, and make the piece your own. Understand where you are and where you have come from. What are the given circumstances of the monologue? If you have created a rich world for your piece it will be captivating for an audience. This page of monologues for women was made to help actors. If you have any other monologue ideas let us know. 

Monologue Help


 

About the Author

Andrew Hearle

is Stage Milk's founder and site co-ordinator. He studied Acting at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and is now based in Sydney. He vaguely calls himself an actor, and unwittingly runs one of the biggest acting websites in the world.

11 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!

  5. I recommend Calypso’s furious rebuke to the Olympian Gods from Book 5 of the Odyssey of Homer.

    ‘You are cruel, you gods, and quickest to envy, since you are jealous if any goddess openly mates with a man, taking a mortal to her bed. Jealous, you gods, who live untroubled, of rosy-fingered Dawn and her [lover] Orion, till virgin Artemis, of the golden throne, attacked him with painless arrows in Ortygia, and slew him. Jealous, when Demeter of the lovely tresses gave way to passion and lay with Iasion in the thrice-ploughed field. Zeus soon heard of it and struck him dead with his bright bolt of lightning. And jealous now of me, you gods, because I befriend a man, one I saved as he straddled the keel alone, when Zeus had blasted and shattered his swift ship with a bright lightning bolt, out on the wine-dark sea. There all his noble friends were lost, but the wind and waves carried him here. I welcomed him generously and fed him, and promised to make him immortal and un-aging. But since no god can escape or deny the will of Zeus the aegis-bearer, let him go — if Zeus so orders and commands it, let him sail the restless sea. But I will not convey him, having no oared ship, and no crew, to send him off over the wide sea’s back. Yet I’ll cheerfully advise him, and openly, so he may get back safe to his native land.’

  6. The Monologue Database has lots of monologues for women. All the monologues are from plays, which can be purchased and downloaded for under ten dollars each.

  7. Rebecca Vandeventer says:

    I am looking for a monologue, that isn’t overly used, to audition for an absurdist play. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!!

  8. GAURI CHADHA says:

    Do you have any monologues about grief?

  9. Jan Mason says:

    I have to do a monologue for an assisted living. These folks are very sharp. I am looking for a woman’s monologue that would be relevant to the elderly.. It could have both humor and seriousness sprinkled in. Any Idea’s?

  10. Jema says:

    No comedic monologues? Most companies want a dramatic and a comedic monologue. And *good* comedy that ‘s not overdone is hard to find.

    • Andrew Hearle Andrew Hearle says:

      We will try to add a couple of comic monologues over the next week or so. Thanks for the heads up

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