Monologues for Ages 18+ (College/ Young Adult)
WARNING: Some of these monologues may contain adult language or content.
These monologues are pulled from serious dramas, often with small casts and very little set. These monologues may be hard to understand without context. Feel free to look up a synopsis of the show to help you. Monologues for this age group range from classical plays like Sophocles’ Oedipus to modern dramas like Doubt or Angels in America. Most of these are extremely serious, dramatic monologues. There are comedic monologues for this age group, but it is usually a more sophisticated kind of comedy like satire.
From: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Martha
You’re all flops. I am the Earth Mother, and you are all flops. (To herself) I disgust me. You know, there’s only been one man in my whole life who’s ever made me happy. Do you know that?…George, my husband…George, who is out somewhere there in the dark, who is good to me – whom I revile, who can keep learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them. Who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy. Yes, I do wish to be happy. George and Martha. Sad, sad, sad…Whom I will not forgive for having come to rest; for having seen me and having said, ‘yes, this will do’… who has made the hideous, the hurting, the insulting mistake of loving me and must be punished for it. George and Martha. Sad, sad, sad…Some day, hah! Some night, some stupid, liquor-ridden night, I will go too far and I’ll either break the man’s back or I’ll push him off for good which is what I deserve.
From: Doubt – Mrs. Miller
You accept what you got to accept and you work with it. … Well he’s got to be somewhere, maybe he’s doin’ some good too … Well maybe some of them boys want to get caught. … That’s why his father beat him. Not the wine. … I’m talkin’ about the boy’s nature, nun. Not anything he’s done. You can’t hold a child responsible for what God gave him to be. … But then there’s the boy’s nature … Forget it then. Forcing people to say things. My boy came to your school ‘cause they were gonna kill him in the public schools. His father don’t like him. He come to your school, kids don’t like him. One man is good to him, this priest. And does a man have his reasons? Yes. Everybody does. You have your reasons but, do I ask the man why he’s good to my son? No. I don’t care why. My son needs some man to care about him. And to see him through the way he wants to go. And thank God this educated man, with some kindness in him, wants to do just that.
From: Angels in America – Harper Pitt
Night flight to San Francisco. Chase the moon across America. God! It’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35,000 feet we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air. As close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air and attained the outer rim, the ozone which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth and that was frightening. But I saw something only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things. Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead of people who’d perished from famine, from war, from the plague and they floated up like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles and formed a web, a great net of souls. And the souls were three atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.
From: Sophocles’ Antigone – CREON
Sirs, the vessel of our state, after being tossed on wild waves, hath once more been safely steadied by the gods: and ye, out of all the folk, have been called apart by my summons, because I knew, first of all, how true and constant was your reverence for the royal power of Laius; how, again, when Oedipus was ruler of our land, and when he had perished, your steadfast loyalty still upheld their children. Since, then, his sons have fallen in one day by a twofold doom–each smitten by the other, each stained with a brother’s blood–I now possess the throne and all its powers, by nearness of kinship to the dead. No man can be fully known, in soul and spirit and mind, until he hath been seen versed in rule and law-giving. For if any, being supreme guide of the state, cleaves not to the best counsels, but, through some fear, keeps his lips locked, I hold, and have ever held, him most base; and if any makes a friend of more account than his fatherland, that man hath no place in my regard. For I–be Zeus my witness, who sees all things always–would not be silent if I saw ruin, instead of safety, coming to the citizens; nor would I ever deem the country’s foe a friend to myself; remembering this, that our country is the ship that bears us safe, and that only while she prospers in our voyage can we make true friends. Such are the rules by which I guard this city’s greatness. And in accord with them is the edict which I have now published to the folk touching the sons of Oedipus; that Eteocles, who hath fallen fighting for our city, in all renown of arms, shall be entombed, and crowned with every rite that follows the noblest dead to their rest. But for his brother, Polyneices–who came back from exile, and sought to consume utterly with fire the city of his fathers and the shrines of his fathers’ gods–sought to taste of kindred blood, and to lead the remnant into slavery–touching this man, it hath been proclaimed to our people that none shall grace him with sepulture or lament, but leave him unburied, a corpse for birds and dogs to eat, a ghastly sight of shame.
From: The Death of a Salesman – Willy
Business is definitely business, but just listen for a minute. You don’t understand this. When I was a boy-eighteen, nineteen—I was already on the road. And there was a question in my mind as to whether selling had a future for me. Because in those days I had a yearning to go to Alaska. See, there were three gold strikes in one month in Alaska, and I felt like going out. Just for the ride, you might say. Oh, yeah, my father lived many years in Alaska. He was an adventurous man. We’ve got quite a little streak of self-reliance in our family. I thought I’d go out with my older bother and try to locate him, and maybe settle in the North with the old man. And I was almost decided to go, when I met a salesman in the Parker House. His name was Dave Singleman. And he was eighty-four years old, and he’d drummed merchandise in thirty-one states. And old Dave, he’d go up to his room, y’understand, put on his green velvet slippers—I’ll never forget—and pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, he made his living. And when I say that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want. ‘Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eight-four, into twenty of thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so may different people? Do you know? When he died— and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of the New York, New Haven and Hartford, going into Boston—when he died, Hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral. Things were sad on a lotta trains for months after that. See In those days there was personality in it, Howard. There was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in it. Today, it’s all cut and dried and there’s no chance for bringing friendship to bear—or personality. You see what I mean? They don’t know me any more!
From: Tale of Two Cities – MANETTE
My child, all that matters is that you did see him – you saw Charles. Tomorrow you’ll marry him. Had it not been Charles it would have been another. If there had been no other I might have felt myself the cause – and the… dark part of my life would have cast its shadow beyond myself… and fallen upon you.
Look at the moon! When I looked upon her from the window of my prison I could not bear her light. It was the worst of tortures to me that she shone so brightly on all that had been taken from me. I looked at the moon and wondered upon the wife and the unborn child from whom I had been torn. Was my child alive – looking up at the moon, or had the shock of its birth killed the mother? Was that child a son who would some day avenge me? Or a son who would never learn of my existence? Or was it a daughter who would grow into a woman knowing nothing of my fate. Year after year I imagined myself wiped from the remembrance of everything I had loved – of everyone who had loved me.
There were other moonlit nights when in my sadness the darkness – silence touched me in a different way. I imagined a daughter – like a vision of the of the wife I had lost – coming to lead me out of my cell – to take me to the home she had made – to a loving husband – beautiful children about her feet –
I’ll not have life long enough to thank God sufficiently for the happiness you brought me. You have brought me out of the darkness.
From: The Glass Menagerie – TOM
I was fired for writing a poem on the lid of a shoebox. I left Saint Louis. I descended the step of this fire‐ escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father’s footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space – I travelled around a great deal. The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly coloured but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass. Perhaps I am walking along a street at night, in some strange city, before I have found companions. I pass the lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. The window is filled with pieces of coloured glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colours, like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes … Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger – anything that can blow your candles out!