The most famous Shakespeare soliloquies (and indeed, the most famous soliloquys in the English language) are found in three of his playsHamlet , Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet . For example, perhaps the best known opening line to a Shakespeare soliloquy is “to be or not to be”, from Hamlet.

In case you weren’t 100% sure, a soliloquy is the act of a character speaking their thoughts aloud, often when they’re by themselves but sometimes with others around. Soliloquys (or soliloquies – you can spell them both ways) differ from monolgues in that the words spoken are thoughts only, and no other characters can hear them. This compares to monolgues which are simply long speeches by a character (read an in-depth article on soliloquies vs monologues). Shakespeare frequently makes use of both soliloquys and monolgues in his plays.

The links below lead to extracts from our modern English Shakespeare ebooks, making Shakespeare’s most well known soliloquies available so you can fully understand his plays. We hope that you will find these Shakespeare soliloquies helpful:

Shakespeare soliloquies by play:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream soliloquies in modern English
Hamlet soliloquies in modern English
King Lear soliloquies in modern English
Macbeth soliloquies in modern English
The Merchant of Venice soliloquies in modern English
Othello soliloquies in modern English
Romeo & Juliet soliloquies in modern English
The Tempest soliloquies in modern English