Eugene O’Neill Monologues

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23 mins read

The Godfather of American playwrights Eugene O’Neill has a catalog of plays that remain unmatched in American theater. From Long Days Journey Into Night to The Iceman Cometh his plays are still amongst the most revered by actors all over the world. If you are a young man working your way through drama school you will most likely be be dealt with the task of working on parts like Jamie and Edmund Tyrone or a young woman with Anna Christie.

Eugene O’Neills deeply personal work makes for all-encompassing uncut characters that will elevate and actors work craft when working on the roles. The completeness of the characters force actors to bring a “full bucket” in order to do the roles justice. There can be no half way work when working on O’Neill and that is why it is important immerse yourself in his work as a young actor. In that spirit we have put together a list of Eugene O’Neill monologues for you to explore and work on.

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace. – Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill Monologues

Monologues from Anna Christie

ANNA: I s’pose if I tried to tell you I wasn’t- that- no more you’d believe me, wouldn’t you? Yes, you would! And if I told you that yust getting out in this barge, and being on the sea had changed me and made me feel different about things,’s if all I’d been through wasn’t me and didn’t count and was yust like it never happened- you’d laugh, wouldn’t you? And you’d die laughing sure if I said that meeting you that funny way that night in the fog, and afterwards seeing that you was straight goods stuck on me, had got me to thinking for the first time, and I sized you up as a different kind of man- a sea man as different from the ones on land as water is from mud- and that was why I got stuck on you, too. I wanted to marry you and fool you, but I couldn’t. Don’t you see how I’d changed? I couldn’t marry you with you believing a lie- and I was shamed to tell you the truth- till the both of you forced my hand, and I seen you was the same as all the rest. And now, give me a bawling out and beat it, like I can tell you’re going to. Will you believe it if I tell you that loving you has made me- clean? It’s the straight goods, honest! Like hell you will! You’re like all the rest!

Age: 20s 30s 40s
Gender: Monologues For Women
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama
One minute monologue

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ANNA: I s’pose if I tried to tell you I wasn’t- that- no more you’d believe me, wouldn’t you? Yes, you would! And if I told you that yust getting out in this barge, and being on the sea had changed me and made me feel different about things,’s if all I’d been through wasn’t me and didn’t count and was yust like it never happened- you’d laugh, wouldn’t you? And you’d die laughing sure if I said that meeting you that funny way that night in the fog, and afterwards seeing that you was straight goods stuck on me, had got me to thinking for the first time, and I sized you up as a different kind of man- a sea man as different from the ones on land as water is from mud- and that was why I got stuck on you, too. I wanted to marry you and fool you, but I couldn’t. Don’t you see how I’d changed? I couldn’t marry you with you believing a lie- and I was shamed to tell you the truth- till the both of you forced my hand, and I seen you was the same as all the rest. And now, give me a bawling out and beat it, like I can tell you’re going to. Will you believe it if I tell you that loving you has made me- clean? It’s the straight goods, honest! Like hell you will! You’re like all the rest!

Age: 20s 30s
Gender: Monologues For Women
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama

Download This Monologue Here


Monologues From The Hairy Ape

YANK: I scared her? Why de hell should I scare her? Who de hell is she? Ain’t she de same as me? Hairy ape, huh?

(With his old confident bravado.)

I’ll show her I’m better’n her, if she on’y knew it. I belong and she don’t, see! I move and she’s dead! Twenty-five knots a hour, dats me! Dat carries her but I make dat. She’s on’y baggage. Sure!

(Again bewilderedly.)

But, Christ, she was funny lookin’! Did yuh pipe her hands? White and skinny. Yuh could see de bones trough ’em. And her mush, dat was dead white, too. And her eyes, dey was like dey’d seen a ghost. Me, dat was! Sure! Hairy ape! Ghost, huh? Look at dat arm!

(He extends his right arm, swelling out the great muscles.)

I coulda took her wit dat, wit’ just my little finger even, and broke her in two.

(Again bewilderedly.)

Say, who is dat skoit, huh? What is she? What’s she come from? Who made her? Who give her de noive to look at me like dat? Dis ting’s got my goat right. I don’t get her. She’s new to me. What does a skoit like her mean, huh? She don’t belong, get me! I can’t see her.

(With growing anger.)

But one ting I’m wise to, aw right, aw right! Youse all kin bet your shoits I’ll git even wit her. I’ll show her if she tinks she- She grinds de organ and I’m on de string, huh? I’ll fix her! Let her come down again and I’ll fling her in de furnace! She’ll move den! She won’t shiver at nothin’, den! Speed, dat’ll be her! She’ll belong den!

Age: 20’s, 30’s, 40’s
Gender: Monologues For Men
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama

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MILDRED: Please do not mock at my attempts to discover how the other half lives. Give me credit for some sort of groping sincerity in that at least. I would like to help them. I would like to be some use in the world. Is it my fault I don’t know how? I would like to be sincere, to touch life somewhere.

(With weary bitterness.)

But I’m afraid I have neither the vitality nor integrity. All that was burnt out in our stock before I was born. Grandfather’s blast furnaces, flaming to the sky, melting steel, making millions- then father keeping those home fires burning, making more millions- and little me at the tail-end of it all. I’m a waste product in the Bessemer process- like the millions. Or rather, I inherit the acquired trait of the by-product, wealth, but none of the energy, none of the strength of the steel that made it. I am sired by gold and darned by it, as they say at the race track- damned in more ways than one.

Age: 20s 30s
Gender: Monologues For Women
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama
One minute monologue

Download This Monologue Here


Monologues From Long Days Journey Into Night

EDMUND: You’ve just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They’re all connected with the sea. Here’s one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and the singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself–actually lost my life. I was set fee! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged without, past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American line, when I was lookout in the crow’s nest on the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping lookout, feeling alone, and above and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. The peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men’s lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on the beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint’s vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see–and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason! (He grins wryly) It was a great mistake my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a seagull or a fish. As it is I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a little in love with death!

Age: 20s 30s
Gender: Monologues For Men
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama

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Edmund: God, Papa, ever since I went to sea and was on my own, and found out what hard work for little pay was, and what it felt like to be broke, and starve, and camp on park benches because I had no place to sleep, I’ve tried to be fair to you because I knew what you’d been up against as a kid. I’ve tried to make allowances. Christ, you have to make allowances in this damned family or go nuts! I have tried to make allowances for myself when I remember all the rotten stuff I’ve pulled! I’ve tried to feel like Mama that you can’t help being what you are where money is concerned. But God Almighty, this last stunt of yours is too much! It makes me want to puke! Not because of the rotten way you’re treating me. To hell with that! I’ve treated you rottenly, in my way, more than once. But to think when it’s a question of your son having consumption, you can show yourself up before the whole town as such a stinking old tightwad! Don’t you know Hardy will talk and the whole damn town will know! Jesus, Papa, haven’t you any pride or shame? (Bursting with rage.) And don’t think I’ll let you get away with it! I won’t go to any damned state farm just to save you a few lousy dollars to buy more bum property with! You stinking old miser! (He chokes huskily, his voice trembling with rage, and then is shaken by a fit of coughing.)

Age: 20s 30s
Gender: Monologues For Men
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama

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JAMIE {swaying and blinking in the doorway -—in a loud voice). What ho What ho.

EDMUND {sharply). Nix on the loud noise

JAMIE {blinks at him). Oh, hello, Kid. [With great seriousness]
I’m as drunk as a fiddler’s bitch.

EDMUND {dryly). Thanks for telling me your great secret.

JAMIE {grins foolishly). Yes Unnecessary information Number One, eh?

{He bends and slaps at the knees of his trousers.)

Had serious accident. The fron’ steps tned to trample on me. Took advantage of fog to waylay me Ought to be a hghthouse out there. Dark in here, too {Scowling ) What the hell is this, the morgue?
Lesh have some light on subject.

{He sways forward to the table reciting Kipling.) Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river, Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark! Keep the crossing-stakes beside you, an’ they will surely gmde you ’Cross the ford o’ Kabul nver in the dark.”

{He fumbles at the chandelier and manages to turn on the three bulbs.)

Thash more like it. To hell with old Gaspard. Where is the old tightwad? Can’t expect us to live in the Black Hole of Calcutta,

{His eyes fix on the bottle of whisky.)

Say! Have I got the DT’s?

{He reaches out fumhlingly and grabs it.)

By God, It’s real. What’s matter with the old man tonight? Must be ossified to forget he left this out. Grab opportunity by the forelock.  Key to my success.
{He slops a big drink into a glass.)

EDMUND. You’re stinking now. That will knock you stiff.

JAMIE. Wisdom from the mouth of babes. Can the wise stuff Kid. You’re still wet behind the ears.

{He lowers himself into a chair, holding the drink carefully aloft}

EDMUND. All right. Pass out if you want to.

JAMIE Can’t, that’s trouble. Had enough to sink a ship, but can’t sink, here’s hoping. {He drinks.)

Age: 20s 30s
Gender: Monologues For Men
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama

Download This Monologue Here


Mary explains her use of the morphine to Cathleen, the servant.

MARY. I have to take it because there is no other that can stop the pain – all of the pain – I mean, in my hands. Poor hands! You’d never believe it, but they were once one of my god points, along with my hair and eyes, and I had a fine figure too. They were a musician’s hands. I used to love the piano. I worked so hard at my music in the Convent – if you can call it work when you do something you love. Mother Elizabeth and my music teacher both said I had more talent than any student they remembered. My father paid for special lessons. He spoiled me. He would do anything I asked. He would have sent me to Europe to study after I graduated from the Convent.I might have gone – if I hadn’t fallen in love with Mr. Tyrone. or I might have become a nun. I had two dreams. To be a nun, that was the more beautiful one. To become a concert pianist, that was the other. I haven’t touched a piano in so many years. I couldn’t play with such crippled fingers, even if I wanted to. For a time after my marriage I tried to keep up my music. But it was hopeless. One-night stands, cheap hotels, dirty trains, leaving children, never having a home – See, Cathleen, how ugly they are! So maimed and crippled! You would think they’d been trough some horrible accident! So they have, come to think of it. I won’t look at them. They’re worse than the foghorn for reminding me – But even they can’t touch me now. They’re far away. I see them, but the pain has gone.

Age: 40s 50s 60s
Gender: Monologues For Women
Type: Monologues From Plays
Genre: Drama

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We hope you enjoy this list of Eugene O’Neill monologues and just to remind you there are many more monologues in our monologue database that you can access below

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