Shakespeare Monologues -

Gender Neutral

Scroll down for Com­ed­ies, His­tor­ies and Tra­gedies — click each box to view and down­load the speech

 

Clown — ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL — Act I Scene 3

Char­ac­ter: Clown

Play: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

Scene: Act I Scene 3

Brief Syn­op­sis:This play is about Helen, who is in love with Ber­tram, fol­lows him to court and some­how man­ages to cure the king of a fatal ill­ness. As her reward, the king declares she can marry who­ever she chooses. This scene takes place just as she is about to choose Ber­trum- and mean­while in the court, the clown is chat­ting with the Count­ess of Rossil­lion (Bertrum’s mother).

Speech:

You’re shal­low, madam, in great friends; for the
knaves come to do that for me which I am aweary of.
He that ears my land spares my team and gives me
leave to in the crop; if I be his cuck­old, he’s my
drudge: he that com­forts my wife is the cher­ish­er
of my flesh and blood; he that cher­ishes my flesh
and blood loves my flesh and blood; he that loves my
flesh and blood is my friend: ergo, he that kisses
my wife is my friend. If men could be con­ten­ted to
be what they are, there were no fear in mar­riage;
for young Char­bon the Pur­it­an and old Poysam the
Papist, how­some’er their hearts are severed in
reli­gion, their heads are both one; they may jowl
horns togeth­er, like any deer i’ the herd. 

Ariel — THE TEMPEST — Act III Scene 3

Char­ac­ter: Ariel

Play: THE TEMPEST

Scene: Act III Scene 3

Brief Syn­op­sis  Pros­pero, the Duke of Milan, has been usurped and ban­ished with his daugh­ter. They arrive on a strange island, where Pros­pero spends his years ruling the creatures there with his magic. The play begins as Pros­pero has man­aged to ship­wreck a boat car­ry­ing those who had caused his ban­ish­ment. They arrive on the Island, and Pros­pero works his magic to humi­li­ate them and to execute his revenge. In this scene, the spirit, Ariel, forms the shape of a harpy and tor­ments Alonso, Sebasti­an, and Antonio .

 

Speech:

You are three men of sin, whom Des­tiny,
That hath to instru­ment this lower world
And what is in’t, the never-sur­feited sea
Hath caused to belch up you; and on this island
Where man doth not inhab­it; you ‘mongst men
Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad;
And even with such-like valour men hang and drown
Their proper selves.
[ALONSO, SEBASTIAN &c. draw their swords]
You fools! I and my fel­lows
Are min­is­ters of Fate: the ele­ments,
Of whom your swords are tem­per­’d, may as well
Wound the loud winds, or with bemock­’d-at stabs
Kill the still-clos­ing waters, as dimin­ish
One dowle that’s in my plume: my fellow-min­is­ters
Are like invul­ner­able. If you could hurt,
Your swords are now too massy for your strengths
And will not be uplif­ted. But remem­ber—
For that’s my busi­ness to you—that you three
From Milan did sup­plant good Pros­pero;
Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it,
Him and his inno­cent child: for which foul deed
The powers, delay­ing, not for­get­ting, have
Incensed the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures,
Against your peace. Thee of thy son, Alonso,
They have bereft; and do pro­nounce by me:
Linger­ing per­di­tion, worse than any death
Can be at once, shall step by step attend
You and your ways; whose wraths to guard you from—
Which here, in this most des­ol­ate isle, else falls
Upon your heads—is noth­ing but heart-sorrow
And a clear life ensuing.

 

Citizen — KING JOHN — Act II scene 1

Char­ac­ter: Cit­izen 

Play: KING JOHN

Scene: Act II scene 1

Brief Syn­op­sis: John has become King of Eng­land, but the French argue that Arthur, the young child of Con­stance and the deceased older broth­er of the King, should be King instead. French & Eng­lish forces fight for the town of Anglers in France. A cit­izen pro­poses that France and Eng­land should be united by mar­riage through the French Dauph­in, Lewis, and John’s niece Lady Blanche. Con­stance is angry that the French have given up on her son’s claim to the throne. John is excom­mu­nic­ated and the French are stirred to resume war against Eng­land. Arthur is cap­tured and dies trying to escape.

Speech:

That daugh­ter there of Spain, the Lady Blanch,
Is niece to Eng­land: look upon the years
Of Lewis the Dauph­in and that lovely maid:
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?
If zeal­ous love should go in search of virtue,
Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?
If love ambi­tious sought a match of birth,
Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch?
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young Dauph­in every way com­plete:
If not com­plete of, say he is not she;
And she again wants noth­ing, to name want,
If want it be not that she is not he:
He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be fin­ished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excel­lence,
Whose ful­ness of per­fec­tion lies in him.
O, two such silver cur­rents, when they join,
Do glor­i­fy the banks that bound them in;
And two such shores to two such streams made one,
Two such con­trolling bounds shall you be, kings,
To these two princes, if you marry them.
This union shall do more than bat­tery can
To our fast-closed gates; for at this match,
With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
The mouth of pas­sage shall we fling wide ope,
And give you entrance: but without this match,
The sea enraged is not half so deaf,
Lions more con­fid­ent, moun­tains and rocks
More free from motion, no, not Death him­self
In moral fury half so per­emp­tory,
As we to keep this city.

 

Rumour — HENRY IV PART II — Prologue

Char­ac­ter: Rumour

Play: HENRY IV PART II

Scene: Prologue

Brief Syn­op­sis: The Earl of Northum­ber­land tries to avenge his son’s death by sup­port­ing a second rebel­lion. With civil war loom­ing, King Henry IV grows sick, while his son (Hal) con­tin­ues drink­ing and living a reck­less life with his friends (includ­ing Sir John Fal­staff). The prince and king recon­cile on the king’s deathbed, and Prince Hal ascends the throne as a more mature Henry V. 

Speech:

Open your ears; for which of you will stop
The vent of hear­ing when loud Rumour speaks?
I, from the orient to the droop­ing west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts com­menced on this ball of earth.
Upon my tongues con­tinu­al slanders ride,
The which in every lan­guage I pro­nounce,
Stuff­ing the ears of men with false reports.
I speak of peace while covert emnity,
Under the smile of safety, wounds the world;
And who but Rumour, who but only I,
Make fear­ful musters and pre­par’d defence,
Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,
Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,
And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe
Blown by sur­mises, jeal­ousies, con­jec­tures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt mon­ster with uncoun­ted heads,
The still-dis­cord­ant wav’ring mul­ti­tude,
Can play upon it. But what need I thus
My well-known body to ana­tom­ize
Among my house­hold? Why is Rumour here?
I run before King Harry­’s vic­tory,
Who, in a bloody field by Shrews­bury,
Hath beaten down young Hot­spur and his troops,
Quench­ing the flame of bold rebel­lion
Even with the rebels’ blood. But what mean I
To speak so true at first? My office is
To noise abroad that Harry Mon­mouth fell
Under the wrath of noble Hot­spur’s sword,
And that the King before the Douglas’ rage
Stoop’d his anoin­ted head as low as death.
This have I rumour’d through the peas­ant towns
Between that royal field of Shrews­bury
And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone,
Where Hot­spur’s father, old Northum­ber­land,
Lies crafty-sick. The posts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learnt of me. From Rumour’s tongues
They bring smooth com­forts false, worse than true wrongs.

 

Chorus — HENRY V — Prologue

Char­ac­ter: Chorus

Play: HENRY V

Scene: Prologue

Brief Syn­op­sis: Henry V centres around the newly crowned King Henry V and his right to rule both Eng­land and France. The French King rejects Henry’s claim to the crown. Henry’s forces take the town of Har­fleur, and then begin to retreat through Nor­mandy due to the poor con­di­tion of the men. Henry still plans for the sol­diers to fight, and on the eve of the battle of Agin­court, he dis­guises him­self and goes through his camp, hear­ing what his men and sol­diers truly think. The fol­low­ing day, he rouses his troops and places them all in God’s hand, and a mira­cu­lous Eng­lish vic­tory is won. Henry then weds Prin­cess Kath­er­ine to cement the link­ing of France and Eng­land through mar­riage. This Play is the first time Shakespeare has exper­i­mented using a char­ac­ter of ‘chorus’

Speech:

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The bright­est heaven of inven­tion,
A king­dom for a stage, princes to act
And mon­archs to behold the swell­ing scene!
Then should the war­like Harry, like him­self,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employ­ment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spir­its that have dared
On this unworthy scaf­fold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cock­pit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agin­court?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a mil­lion;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your ima­gin­ary forces work.
Sup­pose within the girdle of these walls
Are now con­fined two mighty mon­arch­ies,
Whose high upreared and abut­ting fronts
The per­il­ous narrow ocean parts asun­der:
Piece out our imper­fec­tions with your thoughts;
Into a thou­sand parts divide on man,
And make ima­gin­ary puis­sance;
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Print­ing their proud hoofs i’ the receiv­ing earth;
For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there; jump­ing o’er times,
Turn­ing the accom­plish­ment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this his­tory;
Who pro­logue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

French General — HENRY VI PART I — Act IV Scene 2

Char­ac­ter: Chorus

Play: HENRY V

Scene: Prologue

Brief Syn­op­sis: Henry V centres around the newly crowned King Henry V and his right to rule both Eng­land and France. The French King rejects Henry’s claim to the crown. Henry’s forces take the town of Har­fleur, and then begin to retreat through Nor­mandy due to the poor con­di­tion of the men. Henry still plans for the sol­diers to fight, and on the eve of the battle of Agin­court, he dis­guises him­self and goes through his camp, hear­ing what his men and sol­diers truly think. The fol­low­ing day, he rouses his troops and places them all in God’s hand, and a mira­cu­lous Eng­lish vic­tory is won. Henry then weds Prin­cess Kath­er­ine to cement the link­ing of France and Eng­land through mar­riage. This Play is the first time Shakespeare has exper­i­mented using a char­ac­ter of ‘chorus’

Speech:

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The bright­est heaven of inven­tion,
A king­dom for a stage, princes to act
And mon­archs to behold the swell­ing scene!
Then should the war­like Harry, like him­self,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employ­ment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spir­its that have dared
On this unworthy scaf­fold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cock­pit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agin­court?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a mil­lion;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your ima­gin­ary forces work.
Sup­pose within the girdle of these walls
Are now con­fined two mighty mon­arch­ies,
Whose high upreared and abut­ting fronts
The per­il­ous narrow ocean parts asun­der:
Piece out our imper­fec­tions with your thoughts;
Into a thou­sand parts divide on man,
And make ima­gin­ary puis­sance;
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Print­ing their proud hoofs i’ the receiv­ing earth;
For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there; jump­ing o’er times,
Turn­ing the accom­plish­ment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this his­tory;
Who pro­logue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.