When you’re looking for a Shakespeare Monologue for women, it’s a rough time. There’s relatively few compared to the men’s Shakespeare speeches. It’s difficult to be original. So I’ve gathered together some of the Shakespeare monologues for women that I feel are underperformed by women.
Remember, just because they are underperformed, doesn’t mean they are crappy. It means that others have become more popular, appear in more Shakespeare monologue books and are more regularly recommended.
The first is a monologue from Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and comes from Act 2 Scene 5. Juliet is awaiting news about Romeo from her Nurse.
The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him: that's not so.
O, she is lame! love's heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams,
Driving back shadows over louring hills:
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill
Of this day's journey, and from nine till twelve
Is three long hours, yet she is not come.
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball;
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
And his to me:
But old folks, many feign as they were dead;
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.
O God, she comes!
Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an a-sexual character and can be played by women. Here Puck gives the audience an update on what’s happened, but gets to show plenty of their puckish personality in Act 3 Scene 2:
My mistress with a monster is in love.
Near to her close and consecrated bower,
While she was in her dull and sleeping hour,
A crew of patches, rude mechanicals,
That work for bread upon Athenian stalls,
Were met together to rehearse a play,
Intended for great Theseus' nuptial day.
The shallowest thickskin of that barren sort,
Who Pyramus presented in their sport,
Forsook his scene and entered in a brake.
When I did him at this advantage take,
An ass's nole I fixèd on his head.
Anon his Thisby must be answerèd,
And forth my mimic comes. When they him spy,
As wild geese that the creeping fowler eye,
Or russet-pated choughs, many in sort,
Rising and cawing at the gun's report,
Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky;
So at his sight away his fellows fly,
And at our stamp here o'er and o'er one falls;
He murder cries and help from Athens calls.
Their sense thus weak, lost with their fears thus strong, Made senseless things begin to do them wrong,
For briers and thorns at their apparel snatch:
Some, sleeves -- some, hats; from yielders all things catch. I led them on in this distracted fear
And left sweet Pyramus translated there,
When in that moment (so it came to pass)
Titania waked, and straightway loved an ass.
I don’t see a lot of women doing Desdemona from Othello. It’s a shame, because she’s a tragic character. Here’s a speech where she tries to get her husband’s right hand man to help reach her husband, who has become distant and angry with her.
O good Iago,
What shall I do to win my lord again?
Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:
If e'er my will did trespass 'gainst his love,
Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,
Delighted them in any other form;
Or that I do not yet, and ever did.
And ever will--though he do shake me off
To beggarly divorcement--love him dearly,
Comfort forswear me! Unkindness may do much;
And his unkindness may defeat my life,
But never taint my love. I cannot say 'whore:'
It does abhor me now I speak the word;
To do the act that might the addition earn
Not the world's mass of vanity could make me.
ONE LAST THING! I've written a handy guide to tackling Shakespeare Monologues for Drama School Auditions called Shakespeare Monologue Audition Success.