Dramatic monologue refers to a type of lyric poem that was perfected by Robert Browning. These poems are dramatic in the sense that they have a theatrical quality i.e. the poem is meant to be read to an audience.
To say that the poem is a monologue means that these are the words of one speaker with no dialogue coming from any other character.
The reason poets choose to write poems like this is to express a point of view through the words of a character. However, often the opinion stated by that characters are not the same as the views of the poet.
Most of the time, the speaker tries to convince someone of something & may or may not be telling the whole truth.
The dramatic monologue has the following features-
Ø A single person who is clearly not the poet, utters the speech that makes up the whole of the poem, in a specific situation at a critical point or moment.
Ø This person addresses & interacts with one or more people, but we know of the others’ presence & what they say or do only from clues in the discourse of the single speaker.
Ø The main principle controlling the poet’s choice & formulation of what the lyric speaker says is to tell to the readers in a way that enhances its interest, the speaker’s temperament & character.
Ø Example of Dramatic Monologue is ‘My Last Duchess’