15 Hilarious Classical Monologues For Women
1. The Dutch Courtesan
A monologue from the play by John Marston
(Act III, Scene 1)
Marry? No, faith; husbands are like lots in the lottery: you may draw forty blanks before you find one that has any prize in him. A husband generally is a careless, domineering thing that grows like coral, which as long as it is under water is soft and tender,
but as soon as it has got his branch above the waves is presently hard, stiff, not to be bowed but burst; so when your husband is a suitor and under your choice, Lord, how supple he is, how obsequious, how at your service, sweet lady!
Once married, got up his head above, a stiff, crooked, knobby, inflexible, tyrannous creature he grows; then they turn like water, more you would embrace, the less you hold.
I’ll live my own woman, and if the worst come to the worst, I had rather prove a wag than a fool. O, but a virtuous marriage, you say? There is no more affinity betwixt virtue and marriage than betwixt a man and his horse.
Indeed, virtue gets up upon marriage sometimes and manageth it in the right way, but marriage is of another piece; for as a horse may be without a man, and a man without a horse,
so marriage, you know, is often without virtue, and virtue, I am sure, more oft without marriage. But thy match, sister—by my troth, I think ‘twill do well. He’s a wellshaped, clean-lipped gentleman,
of a handsome but not affected fineness, a good faithful eye, and a well-humored cheek. Would he did not stoop in the shoulders, for thy sake! See, here he is.
2. The Importance Of Being Earnest
A monologue from the play by Oscar Wilde
Act 3, Scene 1
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. Well, Algernon, of course if you are obliged to be beside the bedside of Mr. Bunbury, I have nothing more to say.
But I would 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 every one has practically said whatever they had to say, which, in most cases, was probably not much.
3. The Lying Valet
A monologue from the play by David Garrick
O woman, woman, foolish woman! she’ll certainly have this Gayless: nay, were she as well convinced of his poverty as I am, she’d have him.
A strong dose of love is worse than one of ratafia; when it once gets into our heads, it trips up our heels, and then good night to discretion.
Here is she going to throw away fifteen thousand pounds; upon what? faith, little better than nothing—he’s a man, and that’s all—and heaven knows mere man is but small consolation.
Be this advice pursued by each fond maid, Ne’er slight the substance for an empty shade: Rich, weighty sparks alone should please and charm ye: For should spouse cool, his gold will always warm ye.
4. She Stoops To Conquer
A monologue from the play by Oliver Goldsmith
Act the first, Scene – (A chamber in an old fashioned house)
A reserved lover, it is said, always makes a suspicious husband. […] He must have more striking features to catch me, I promise you. However, if he be so young, so handsome, and so everything as you mention, I believe he’ll do still.
I think I’ll have him. […] Well, if he refuses, instead of breaking my heart at his indifference,
I’ll only break my glass for its flattery, set my cap to some newer fashion, and look out for some less difficult admirer. […]
Lud, this news of papa’s puts me all in a flutter. Young, handsome; these he put last; but I put them foremost.
Sensible, good-natured; I like all that. But then reserved, and sheepish, that’s much against him.
Yet can’t he be cured of his timidity, by being taught to be proud of his wife? Yes, and can’t I–But I vow I’m disposing of the husband, before I have secured the lover.
5. A Chaste Maid In Cheapside
A monologue from the play by Thomas Middleton
Have you played over all your old lessons o’the virginals? (…) Yes, you are a dull maid alate, methinks you had need have somewhat to quicken your green sickness; do you weep?
A husband. Had not such a piece of flesh been ordained, what had us wives been good for? To make salads, or else cried up and down for samphire.
To see the difference of these seasons! When I was of your youth, I was lightsome, and quick, two years before I was married.
You fit for a knight’s bed—drowsy browed, dull eyed, drossy sprited—I hold my life you have forgot your dancing: when was the dancer with you? (. . .) Last week?
When I was of your bord, he missed me not a night, I was kept at it; I took delight to learn, and he to teach me, pretty brown gentleman, he took pleasure in my company;
but you are dull, nothing comes nimbly from you, you dance like a plumber’s daughter, and deserve two thousand pounds in lead to your marriage, and not in goldsmith’s ware.
6. Agafya (Marriage)
A monologue from the play by Nikolai Gogol
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.
7. Mirandolina, Mirandolina
A monologue from the play by Carlo Goldoni
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!
8. Moll: The Roaring Girl
A monologue from the play by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker
9. The Beggar’s Opera
10. ALWAYS RIDICULOUS
A monologue from the play by Jose Echegaray
You may say what you like, Don Cosme, I can’t agree that Teresina is quite as complex as you think she is, and I’m certainly not subject to illusions.
I know the World; I’m not an ingenuous child; I say I’m not because, good Lord! no widow has any business to be one.
Although I must admit that as far as years go, and in looks and manner, I am still something of a child.
But that’s because of certain characteristics. Don’t you think so? Why don’t you speak?
You understand my character? [Turning toward DON COSME and looking carefully at him.] Good Lord! the man’s asleep again!
Up at ten this morning, it’s now eleven. And he sleeps! No, sir! I must have somebody to talk to.
Teresina is in the garden flirting with the two of them–spinning like a planet between her two poles, Juan and Eugenio.
Don Pablo has gone on his usual walk. Don Hilarion? No one knows where he is!
Here I am left alone with Don Cosme, and he sleeps, leaving me in full monologue. I won’t stand it!
I came to this house on the express condition that I should not be bored, and the condition is not being fulfilled.
The place is beautiful–Art, Oh! plenty of Art–pictures, tapestry, statues, bronzes, porcelains; and Nature,
Oh! a great deal of Nature, woods and flowers and lakes and water-falls and sunsets! But all that’s not enough.
There is no Life! No warmth! As they say nowadays, the warmth of humanity. And he goes on sleeping!
This life is giving that man softening of the brain. Don Cosme! Oh, Don Cosme! [Striking him with her fan] Open your eyes!
11. THE CASKET COMEDY
A monologue from the play by Titus Maccius Plautus
If heaven doesn’t rescue me, I’m dead and done for, with not a soul to look to for aid! Oh, how miserable my own heedlessness makes me!
Oh! how I dread what will happen to my back, if my mistress finds out I’ve been so negligent!
[thinking] Surely I had that little casket in my hands and received it from her here in front of the house–and where it is now I don’t know, unless I dropped it somewhere about here, as I suspect.
[to audience] Dear gentlemen, dear spectators, do tell me if anyone of you saw him, the man who carried it off or who picked it up.
Did he go [pointing] this way, or that? [pauses, then indignantly] I’m none the wiser for asking or pestering them–the creatures always enjoy seeing a woman in trouble!
Now I’ll [scans the ground] examine the footprints here, in case I can find any. For if no one passed by after I went inside, the casket would be lying here.
[looking about again, then hopelessly.] What am I to do? I’m done for, I fancy! It’s all over, my day has come, unlucky, fated wretch that I am!
Not a trace of it, and there won’t be a trace left of me, either! It’s lost, and so I’m lost, too! But I won’t give up, though;
I’ll keep on looking. Oh, my heart’s in a flutter and my back’s in a fright–fear on both sides driving me frantic!
What poor, poor things human beings are! Now he’s happy, whoever he is, that has it–something that’s no use to him and the death of me!
But I’m delaying myself by not setting to work. To work, Halisca! Eyes on the ground, eyes down!
Track it–sharp now–like an augur! [looks for footprints, her nose close to the ground] He went this way . . .
here’s the mark of a shoe in the dust . . . I’ll follow it up this way! Now here’s where he stopped with someone else . . .
Here’s the scene of some sort of fracas . . . No, he didn’t go on this way . . . he stood here . . . from here he went over there . . .
A consultation was held here . . . There are two people concerned, that’s clear as day . . . Aha! Just one person’s tracks! . . .
He went this way . . . I’ll investigate . . . From here he went over here . . . from here he went– [after an energetic and futile search] nowhere!
[with wry resignation] It’s no use. What’s lost is lost–the casket and my cuticle together. I’m going back inside.
12. AN IDEAL HUSBAND
A monologue from the play by Oscar Wilde
Well, Tommy has proposed to me again. Tommy really does nothing but propose to me.
He proposed to me last night in the music-room, when I was quite unprotected, as there was an elaborate trio going on.
I didn’t dare to make the smallest repartee, I need hardly tell you. If I had, it would have stopped the music at once.
Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want one to be perfectly dumb at the very moment when one is longing to be absolutely deaf.
Then he proposed to me in broad daylight this morning, in front of that dreadful statue of Achilles.
Really, the things that go on in front of that work of art are quite appalling. The police should interfere.
At luncheon I saw by the glare in his eye that he was going to propose again, and I just managed to check him in time by assuring him that I was a bimetallist.
Fortunately I don’t know what bimetallism means. And I don’t believe anybody else does either.
But the observation crushed Tommy for ten minutes. He looked quite shocked. And then Tommy is so annoying in the way he proposes.
If he proposed at the top of his voice, I should not mind so much. That might produce some effect on the public.
But he does it in a horrid confidential way. When Tommy wants to be romantic he talks to one just like a doctor.
I am very fond of Tommy, but his methods of proposing are quite out of date.
I wish, Gertrude, you would speak to him, and tell him that once a week is quite often enough to propose to any one, and that it should always be done in a manner that attracts some attention.
13. THE PRETENTIOUS YOUNG LADIES
A monologue from the play by Molière
Good heavens! If everybody was like you a love-story would soon be over. Matrimony ought never to happen till after other adventures.
A lover, to be agreeable, must understand how to utter fine sentiments, to breathe soft, tender, and passionate vows; his courtship must be according to the rules.
In the first place, he should behold the fair one of whom he becomes enamoured either at a place of worship, or when out walking, or at some public ceremony;
or else he should be introduced to her by a relative or a friend, as if by chance, and when he leaves her he should appear in a pensive and melancholy mood.
For some time he should conceal his passion from the object of his love, but pay her several visits,
in every one of which he ought to introduce some gallant subject to exercise the wits of all the company.
When the day comes to make his declarations–which generally should be contrived in some shady garden-walk while the company is at a distance–it should be quickly followed by anger,
which is shown by our blushing, and which, for a while, banishes the lover from our presence.
He finds afterwards means to pacify us, to accustom us gradually to hear him depict his passion, and to draw from us that confession which causes us so much pain.
After that come the adventures, the rivals who thwart mutual inclination, the persecutions of fathers,
the jealousies arising without any foundation, complaints, despair, running away with, and its consequences.
Thus things are carried on in fashionable life, and veritable gallantry cannot dispense with these forms.
But to come out point-blank with a proposal of marriage–to make no love but with a marriage-contract, and begin a novel at the wrong end!
Once more, father, nothing can be more tradesman like, and the mere thought of it makes me sick at heart.
14. DIALOGUES OF THE GODS
A monologue from the Dialogues of Lucian, adapted for the stage by Baudelaire Jones
So what’s this I hear, Selene—that you’ve taken to pausing the moon in the sky every night so you can gaze like a schoolgirl at this hunter, Endymion, while he sleeps?
Sometimes, they say, you actually abandon your post and join him in his bed. Is this true? Yes, you can blame Eros, if you like. He’s such a naughty boy, my son!
He plays the same wicked games on his own mother, you know! First he smites me with an insatiable desire for Anchises of Troy,
then before I can get my fill of that noble prince, he redirects my love pangs toward some Assyrian stripling or some Phoenician farm boy,
and I’m off for Lebanon, Cyprus, Tripoli, like some crazed bitch in heat! It makes me dizzy! I can’t catch my breath!
And worse, once I’m smitten, he doesn’t even leave the man to me, but makes some other goddess or mortal beauty in love with him as well,
so that half the time I don’t get any satisfaction at all! It makes me so mad, I want to strangle the little devil!
I’ve threatened to clip his wings and break all of his arrows—I’ve spanked his little bottom until I was blue in the face!
He cries for a minute or two, promises never to do it again, and two seconds later he’s back to his games.
But enough about me! I want to know about your new lover, Endymion! Is he handsome?
Does he have fine, broad shoulders and a chiseled torso?
That’s always a consolation in our humiliation—to have a strapping young warrior aroused to distraction by our charms. It certainly doesn’t hurt one’s ego.
A monologue from the play by Moliere
Each daughter must choose always to say yes
To what her father wants, no more and no less.
If he wants to give her an ape to marry,
Then she must do it, without a query.
But it’s a happy fate! What is this frown?
You’ll go by wagon to his little town,
Eager cousins, uncles, aunts will greet you
And will call you “sister” when they meet you,
Because you’re family now. Don’t look so grim.
You will so adore chatting with them.
You’ll be expected to maintain propriety
And sit straight, or try to, in the folding chair
They offer you, and never, ever stare
At the wardrobe of the bailiff’s wife
Because you’ll see her everyday for life.
Let’s not forget the village carnival!
Where you’ll be dancing at a lavish ball
To a bagpipe orchestra of locals,
An organ grinder’s monkey doing vocals—
And your husband—
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