Great Example of Dialogue
From Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Act One.
Martha: H. Christ...
George: For God's sake, Martha, it's two o'clock in the...
Martha: Oh, George!
George: Well, I'm sorry, but...
Martha: What a cluck! What a cluck you are.
George: It's late, you know? Late.
Martha: (Looks around the room. Imitates Bette Davis.) What a dump. Hey, what's that from? “What a dump!"
George: How would I know what...
Martha: Aw, come on! What's it from? You know...
Martha: WHAT'S IT FROM, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE?
George: (wearily) What's what from?
Martha: I just told you; I just did it. “What a dump!" Hunh? What's that from?
George: I haven't the faintest idea what...
Martha: Dumbbell! It's from some goddamn Bette Davis picture. Some goddamn Warner Brothers epic...
George: I can't remember all the pictures that...
Martha: Nobody's asking you to remember every single goddamn Warner Brothers epic... just one! One single little epic! Bette Davis gets peritonitis in the end... she's got this big black fright wig she wears all through the picture and she gets peritonitis, and she's married to Joseph cotton or something...
From the beginning, I get a strong impression how this couple always acts around each other. I feel that this type of conversation happens over and over with them. Frustration and resignation hang on every word.
Character, setting and conflict are apparent from the start.The Bette Davis references put the scene in context. The back-and-forth rhythm and the clipped sentences are natural. And I just love the nonsensicality of the line: “One single little epic."
Example of a Soliloquy
“Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" by Robert Browning.
Gr-r-r—there go, my heart's abhorrence!
Water your damned flower-pots, do!
If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,
God's blood, would not mine kill you!
What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming?
Oh, that rose has prior claims— Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?
Hell dry you up with its flames!
At the meal we sit together;
Salve tibi! I must hear
Wise talk of the kind of weather,
Sort of season, time of year:
Not a plenteous cork crop: scarcely
Dare we hope oak-galls, I doubt;
What's the Latin name for "parsley"?
What's the Greek name for "swine's snout"?
Whew! We'll have our platter burnished,
Laid with care on our own shelf!
With a fire-new spoon we're furnished,
And a goblet for ourself,
Rinsed like something sacrificial Ere 'tis fit to touch our chaps—
Marked with L. for our initial!
(He-he! There his lily snaps!)
Saint, forsooth! While Brown Dolores
Squats outside the Convent bank
With Sanchicha, telling stories,
Steeping tresses in the tank,
Blue-black, lustrous, thick like horsehairs, —Can't I see his dead eye glow,
Bright as 'twere a Barbary corsair's?
(That is, if he'd let it show!)
When he finishes refection,
Knife and fork he never lays
Cross-wise, to my recollection,
As do I, in Jesu's praise.
I the Trinity illustrate,
Drinking watered orange pulp—
In three sips the Arian frustrate;
While he drains his at one gulp!
Oh, those melons! if he's able
We're to have a feast; so nice!
One goes to the Abbot's table,
All of us get each a slice.
How go on your flowers? None double?
Not one fruit-sort can you spy?
Strange!—And I, too, at such trouble,
Keep them close-nipped on the sly!
There's a great text in Galatians,
Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine distinct damnations,
One sure, if another fails;
If I trip him just a-dying,
Sure of heaven as sure can be,
Spin him round and send him flying
Off to hell, a Manichee?
Or, my scrofulous French novel
On grey paper with blunt type!
Simply glance at it, you grovel
Hand and foot in Belial's gripe;
If I double down its pages
At the woeful sixteenth print, When he gathers his greengages,
Ope a sieve and slip it in't?
Or, there's Satan!—one might venture
Pledge one's soul to him, yet leave
Such a flaw in the indenture
As he'd miss till, past retrieve,
Blasted lay that rose-acacia
We're so proud of! Hy, Zy, Hine...
'St, there's Vespers! Plena gratia
Ave, Virgo! Gr-r-r—you swine!
The speaker passionately describes his hatred for Brother Lawrence, yet poetically uses garden imagery to describe the gardener. This text delivers accurate religious undertone to the voice of a monk. The verse form and rhyme feel quite at home. I often think rhyming lines feel forced, but not in this case.