ENGLISH 1C06 Lecture Notes - Dramatic Monologue, Victoriana, Transcendentalism
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- Reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
o Christian ethics and constraints
- Empire, aftermath of the revolutions
- Industry, urban expansion
- The reform bill. 1832, 1867
View of Nature
Struggle or strife
Theory of evolution leads to crisis of faith
Intellectual and spiritual doubt – antidote is work
Growing Social Consciousness
Reform movements – child labour, safety, hours
Women – demand emancipation, enfranchisement,
Religion, science, morality
Britain first great modern industrial nation
Feel alienated, betrayed – estranged from life and love
– so isolate themselves no groups or friends
The Dramatic Monologue
- In the dramatic monologue, then, there is typically a speaker and a dramatic context, with an implied
listener present in the scene.
- Yet we come to understand that speaker and that dramatic context only through what the voice says
- We can rely on no external evidence, what other people say about the character or the situation, how the
speaker appears or what he or she does (unless we come to a sense of this through what he or she says).
This is quite different from real life and other forms of drama in novels and theatre, in which a variety of
criteria may be employed (what one says, what one does, how one appears, and what others are saying).
- The dramatic monologue forces us to come to terms with the limitations that we face whenever we try to
know something in an absolute sense
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