Discuss The Patriot as a dramatic monologue

Discuss The Patriot as a dramatic monologue


The Patriot” is a famous dramatic monologue by Robert Browning (1812-1889) who is a foremost Victorian poet and playwright. He is well known for his irony, characterization, dark humour, social commentary, historical setting, challenging vocabulary, and syntax.

Dramatic monologue

Dramatic monologue is a lyric poem in which a single speaker tells his story before a silent listener or listeners. It is also known as a persona poem.

According to Oxford Dictionary, a dramatic monologue is a poem in the form of a speech or narrative by an imagined person, in which the speaker inadvertently reveals aspects of their character while describing a particular situation or a series of events.

“The Patriot” as a dramatic monologue

There are sundry features of a dramatic monologue which are well-matched with the poem “The Patriot”.

Single speaker

The first and foremost feature of a dramatic monologue is a single speaker. The speaker is not the poet himself. There are six lyrical stanzas in the poem from which the readers can understand that the speaker is not the poet rather he is a patriot who is to scaffold for execution for his misdeeds.

“By the very scaffold’s foot, I trow.”

Silent listeners or listener

As a dramatic monologue is a story told by the speaker, silent listeners or listener must present in it. In this very poem, the patriot is talking about the dramatic change of his life since, one year ago on this very day, he was welcomed by his countrymen with showy roses and garlands.

“It was roses, roses, all the way,

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad:”

But now he has been charged with a traitor and is being taken to scaffold for execution. Here the presence of the listeners is clear and they are silent because they do not utter even a word. Thus, “The Patriot” is a dramatic monologue.

More Notes of Poetry

Abrupt beginning

Almost all of the dramatic monologue starts suddenly or abruptly. “The Patriot” has also an abrupt beginning with a dramatic indication.

“It was roses, roses, all the way,


A year ago on this very day.”

Moral message

A dramatic monologue is pregnant with moral lessons and messages. This very poem has also some moral lessons. When a man does something better for his country, he is considered to be a patriot and is welcomed by all walks of people. On the other hand, if he does something harmful for his country, he will be recognized as a traitor without any proper judgment. Thus, the harsh reality of the poem is that human beings are unscrupulous because they only want benefits. The patriot also asserts that he is innocent and he will be rewarded by God himself because of his virtue which is not properly evaluated by human society at all.

“Paid by the world, what dost thou owe

Me?”—God might question; now instead,

‘Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.”


In a few words “The Patriot” is a dramatic monologue because it fulfills all the features of a dramatic monologue mentioned above.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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