“Words, Words, Words!” Audition Monologues for Hamlet
Written by Ashleigh Gardner
July 26, 2018
Auditioning for Hamlet soon? Check out these monologues hand-picked and perfect for every role.
Auditioning for Hamlet
Measure for Measure
Young Claudio has gotten Julietta pregnant, and they have attempted to address a pregnancy out of wedlock with marriage. They married in the church, but because of technicalities, their marriage is not lawful. Claudio is arrested and taken to jail to be executed. Isabella, Claudio’s sister who is in progress of taking her vows to become a nun, visits Antonio and begs for her brother’s life. Antonio says he will spare Claudio if Isabella marries him. Isabella refuses, and visits her brother to tell him the decision she’s made. In this monologue, he sits and ponders death while Isabella stands close by. In the end, he begs her to reconsider.
Henry IV, Part II
A public place near Westminster Abbey. In this monologue, King Henry V is now King after the death of King Henry IV. Falstaff comes before him, his partner in crime for his entire youth and longtime friend. Henry V renounces their friendship and banishes Falstaff from the Palace, to live off of a pittance that will keep him from doing evil, but out of the way of his rule. This is the coldest act that Henry V (formerly Hal) could do to his old companion.
Auditioning for Ophelia
Desdemona, a pure and faithful woman, is married to Othello, an accomplished and honorable black general in the Venetian army. Iago, Othello’s trusted ensign, is jealous that Othello has promoted young Cassio, not Iago, into a higher office, and he vows to undo Othello. He does this by convincing Othello that Desdemona has cheated on him with Cassio. Desdemona, unaware of Iago’s deceit, asks Iago how she should convince Othello that she is faithful. She begs him to speak with her husband, distraught that her marriage is faltering.
Measure for Measure
Angelo, deputy of the Duke of Vienna, is standing in while the Duke is away. He has called Isabella to his chamber to offer her a way of saving her brother’s life and prolonging his execution – sleeping with Angelo. Isabella, disgusted and frightened by this prospect is not prepared to give this much of herself to the man who imprisoned her brother. She tells Angelo that she will tell the entire city of his demand, but he responds with a manipulative speech, saying “Who will believe you?” She is left alone with her fears and thoughts of her virtue being compromised. Isabella is a kind and virtuous young woman who loves her brother more than anything., but here she decides that her chastity is more valuable than her brother’s life. After this, she will visit her brother in jail and ready him for his death.
Auditioning for Horatio or Laertes
Merchant of Venice
Antonio is about to pay back his debt to Shylock, by giving him a pound of flesh. Antonio knows his debt must be paid and is ready to give back valiantly with his head up high, knowing his fate has been cast, knowing that he must go through with what was promised.
Romeo and Juliet
In the street after a night of reveling, and during an impromptu duel, Tybalt murders Mercutio. This causes Romeo to duel Tybalt in revenge and kill him. In this monologue, Benvolio speaks to Prince Escalus, who has been called to the scene. Benvolio has just witnessed the murder of Mercutio and Tybalt, and the flight of Romeo. He is distraught and perhaps even alone since his friends are either dead or have run away. However, he stands up for Romeo’s honor, saying that Romeo did not want to duel initially, but was driven to it by the sorrow felt after Mercutio’s murder. He swears on penalty of death that the events occurred the way he describes them.
Auditioning for Claudius/Ghost of Hamlet’s Father
Scotland. Inverness; Macbeth’s castle during the siege by forces of Malcolm and Macduff. Macbeth is full of fright until he hears “a cry of women within.” Seyton reports that Lady Macbeth has died. The news stuns Macbeth and stops him in his tracks. Here, he is hardened. However, the actor must decide how much grief to give the character; after all, Lady Macbeth has been controlling his character for most of the play. Now that she is dead, he is released.
Antium. In front of Aufidius’s house. Banished from Rome, Coriolanus seeks refuge in the city of his enemy Aufidius, the Volsican commander. Coriolanus reflects on this ironic reversal of fortune. This is really his first contemplative moment in the play, and he resigns to take what he can from this hand dealt to him.
Auditioning for Gertrude
House of Coriolanus. After returning from battle, and proving quite courageous in the fight, Caius Marcius is now declared Coriolanus. This is a title that Roman generals are given after successfully leading military groups against the Roman government. Upon returning home, his mother, Volumnia, attempts to convince Coriolanus to run for consul. In this monologue, she wishes him to “speak to the people” instead of risking his life and blood in battle.
Henry VI, Part II
London; the Duke of Glouscester’s house. Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, and rival to the newly crowned Queen Margaret, chastises her husband for his lack of ambition. As Lord Protector to the King, he stands in line to the crown. She is an overachiever who pushes herself and her husband toward success.
Auditioning for Polonius or the Priest
Henry IV, Part II
Warkworth. Before the castle. The rebels are talking about the war of Shrewsbury (the concluded Henry IV, Part I). Northumberland is very worked up about the last battle and the loss of his son. Now, his grief that once crippled him gives him strength for revenge. In this monologue, Morton attempts to calm him down, knowing that his level-head is what helped them so much in the war previously.
Cymbeline, the King of Britain, and Caius Lucius, a Roman general, are deciding what to do with their prisoners after battle. In this monologue, Caius explains that Britain won but by chance, and Rome was wrong to want to execute their prisoners. He begs Cymbeline to let Fidele (Imogen) go unscathed.
Auditioning for Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Marcellus, Bernardo, Voltimand, Cornelius, Francisco, Reynaldo, Osric
During the storm. Lear is being led offstage by Kent to the shelter of a hovel. The Fool remains behind to speak this soliloquy.
The Merchant of Venice
Venice. A public street; the clown Lancelot Gobbo is seen in flight from his master, Shylock. He stops to deliver this soliloquy to the audience. He is literally caught on the run from Shylock. He is not full of wit at all, but his energy makes up for it. The lines are in prose because Lancelot is of a lower station.
Troilus and Cressida
Outside the gates of Troy in the Greek camp. Before the tent of Achilles. The bitter Thersites delivers this denunciation of Achilles and the very idea of Greek heroism. Thersites is very philosophical, but he is also comically unattractive. He is full of wit and is ready to insult everyone.
Pisanio is Posthumus’ servant. After believing that Imogen has been unfaithful to him with Iachimo, Posthumus has sent a letter to Imogen to meet him at Milford Haven, and has sent a letter to Pisanio to meet her in Milford Haven to kill her. In this monologue, Pisanio reads this letter, and devises a plot; instead of killing her, he will disguise Imogen as a boy and have her seek employment under the name “Fidele.”
Auditioning for Gravediggers and Players
Romeo and Juliet
Verona. The street in front of the Capulet’s house at night. Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio and a group of maskers are on their way to the Capulet’s ball. Mercutio launches into this bright, fantastical speech to draw Romeo out of his dreamy gloom. Mercutio takes his time with the speech, making a spectacle of his/her words. He mixes child-like dreams, bawdy sexuality, and a darker grotesque element that gradually transform the speech into a nightmare, much like the play itself.
Scotland. Inverness; the gates of Macbeth’s castle at night. As a black comic counterpoint to Macbeth’s murder of King Duncan inside the castle, the drunken clowning porter relieves some of the tension of that scene. It is interrupted by loud knocking that competes with his speech. He imagines that he is gatekeeper of hell.
Auditioning for Fortinbras
Antony and Cleopatra
After a successful battle, Ventidius and Silius return with the dead body of Pacorus. Silius encourages Ventidius for them to go back and finish off the rest of the Parthians while they retreat. In this monologue, Ventidius warns that it is not wise to go above those in authority and seek your own valor. Stay humble in battle, stay ambitious and stay loyal, but never be too bold to your Captain.
All’s Well That Ends Well
The King’s palace. Bertram has come to Paris to replace his father as attendant to the King of France. Upon their first meeting, the King muses over the history he had with Bertram’s father, remembering their times as soldiers and how humble he was. The King does not believe the same remarkable traits have found their way through the family tree to Bertram.
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