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


Most popular Shakespeare soliloquies:

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright
What light through yonder window breaks?
The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds
How oft when men are at the point of death
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun
What’s in a name?

To be or not to be
Now might I do it pat
How all occasions do inform against me
My offence is rank, it smells to heaven
What rogue and peasant slave am I
That this too solid felsh would melt

Is this a dagger which I see before me?
If it were done when ’tis done
The raven himself is hoarse
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

O God of battles! Steel my soldier’s hearts
The feast of St Crispin
Oh for a muse of fire
Once more into the breach, dear friends
To horse you gallant princes, stright to horse
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Don’t see the Shakespeare soliloquy you’re after? Drop us a line with the soliloquy name and we’ll see what we can do for you.

12 replies
  1. Jiya
    Jiya says:

    Hello, I am a former actress and I found this really helpful. I honestly did not know the difference between a soliloquy and a monologue and it’s been explained really well. Thank you 🙂

  2. Sheila
    Sheila says:

    Hello,please continue adding to your list of soliloquy nd don’t forget the history plays…..Henry i v and v,also Richard ii

  3. says:

    Need soliloquy for a “woman of a certain age” – 50 plus.
    Probably will have to settle for younger – like Katherine of Aragon was really only in her late thirties/early forties!
    But any suggestions you might have would be appreciated!

    • NSS
      NSS says:

      No Viola soliloquys live at the moment, but we’re working on rolling out plenty of new soliloquys in the near future, so do check back soon!


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