Looking For Shakespeare - Audition Monologues

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Looking For Shakespeare - Audition Monologues

(Pick one to memorize for your audition…you can pick whichever one you like)


From The Winters Tale


Act III, sc. 1; lines 20-52


Since what I am to say must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation and
The testimony on my part no other
But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
To say 'not guilty:' mine integrity
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so received. But thus: if powers divine
Behold our human actions, as they do,
I doubt not then but innocence shall make
False accusation blush and tyranny
Tremble at patience. You, my lord, best know,
Who least will seem to do so, my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devised
And play'd to take spectators. For behold me
A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
A moiety of the throne a great king's daughter,
The mother to a hopeful prince, here standing
To prate and talk for life and honour 'fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour,
'Tis a derivative from me to mine,
And only that I stand for. I appeal
To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
How merited to be so; since he came,
With what encounter so uncurrent I
Have strain'd to appear thus: if one jot beyond
The bound of honour, or in act or will
That way inclining, harden'd be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry fie upon my grave!






From The Winter’s Tale


Act III, sc. 2; lines 160-184


Take her hence:
Her heart is but o'ercharged; she will recover:
I have too much believed mine own suspicion:
Beseech you, tenderly apply to her
Some remedies for life.
[Exeunt PAULINA and Ladies, with HERMIONE]
Apollo, pardon
My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle!
I'll reconcile me to Polixenes,
New woo my queen, recall the good Camillo,
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy;
For, being transported by my jealousies
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
Camillo for the minister to poison
My friend Polixenes: which had been done,
But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
My swift command, though I with death and with
Reward did threaten and encourage him,
Not doing 't and being done: he, most humane
And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp'd my practise, quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great, and to the hazard
Of all encertainties himself commended,
No richer than his honour: how he glisters
Thorough my rust! and how his pity
Does my deeds make the blacker!



From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare


Act I, Scene III; lines 79-94


What say you, can you love the gentleman?

This night you shall behold him at our feast;

Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face

And find delight writ there with beauty's pen.

Examine every married lineament

And see how one another lends content;

And what obscured in this fair volume lies;

Find written in the margent of his eyes.

This precious book of love, this unbound lover,

To beautify him, only lacks a cover.

The fish lives in the sea; and 'tis much pride

For fair without the fair within to hide.

That book in many's eyes doth share the glory

That in gold clasps locks in the golden story.

So shall you share all that he doth possess,

By having him, making yourself no less.


Act II, Scene I; lines 6-21


Romeo! Humours! Madman! Passion! Lover!

Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh,

Speak but one rhyme, and I am satisfied.

Cry but 'Ay me!' pronounce but 'love' and 'dove',

Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word,

One nickname for her purblind son and heir,

Young Abraham Cupid, he that shot so trim

When King Cophetualov’d the beggar maid.

He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not:

The ape is dead and I must conjure him.

I conjure thee by Rosaline's bright eyes,

By her high forehead and her scarlet lip,

By her fine foot, straight leg, and quivering thigh

And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,

That in thy likeness thou appear to us!



Act II, Scene II; lines 2-17


But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

It is the east and Juliet is the sun!

Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon

Who is already sick and pale with grief

That thou her maid art far more fair than she.

Be not her maid since she is envious,

Her vestal livery is but sick and green

And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.

It is my lady, O it is my love!

O, that she knew she were!

She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?

Her eye discourses, I will answer it.

I am too bold. 'Tis not to me she speaks.

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.



Act III, Scene II; lines 1-16


Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,

Towards Phoebus' lodging. Such a waggoner

As Phaethon would whip you to the west

And bring in cloudy night immediately.

Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,

That runaway's eyes may wink, and Romeo

Leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen.

Lovers can see to do their amorous rites

By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,

It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,

Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,

And learn me how to lose a winning match

Play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods.

Hood my unmann'd blood, bating in my cheeks,

With thy black mantle, till strange love grow bold,

Think true love acted simple modesty.



From The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Act I, scene ii, lines 1-13


If by your art, my dearest father, you have

Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.

The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch

But that the sea, mounting to th’ welkin's cheek,

Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered

With those that I saw suffer - a brave vessel

(Who had no doubt some noble creature in her)

Dashed all to pieces. O, the cry did knock

Against my very heart! Poor souls, they perished.

Had I been any god of power, I would

Have sunk the sea within the earth or ere

It should the good ship so have swallow'd and

The fraughting souls within her.


Act II, scene ii, lines 1-17


All the infections that the sun sucks up

From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall and make him

By inchmeal a disease! His spirits hear me,

And yet I needs must curse. But they'll nor pinch,

Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i'th’ mire,

Nor lead me, like a firebrand in the dark,

Out of my way unless he bid 'em. But

For every trifle are they set upon me:

Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me

And after bite me, then like hedgehogs which

Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount

Their pricks at my footfall. Sometime am I

All wound with adders, who with cloven tongues

Do hiss me into madness. Lo now, lo,

Here comes a spirit of his, and to torment me

For bringing wood in slowly. I'll fall flat;

Perchance he will not mind me.



Act III, i, lines 1-15


There be some sports are painful, and their labour

Delight in them sets off. Some kinds of baseness

Are nobly undergone; and most poor matters

Point to rich ends. This my mean task

Would be as heavy to me as odious, but

The mistress which I serve quickens what's dead,

And makes my labours pleasures. O, she is

Ten times more gentle than her father's crabbed,

And he's composed of harshness. I must remove

Some thousands of these logs and pile them up,

Upon a sore injunction. My sweet mistress

Weeps when she sees me work, and says, such baseness

Had never like executor. I forget;

But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours

Most busilest, when I do it.


Act III, iii, lines 60-82


You fools! I and my fellows

Are ministers of Fate. The elements

Of whom your swords are tempered may as well

Wound the loud winds, or with bemocked-at stabs

Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish

One dowl that's in my plume. My fellow ministers

Are like invulnerable. If you could hurt,

Your swords are now too massy for your strengths

And will not be uplifted. But remember

(For that's my business to you) that you three

From Milan did supplant good Prospero,

Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it,

Him and his innocent child; for which foul deed,

The powers delaying, not forgetting, have

Incensed the seas and shores – yea, all the creatures –

Against your peace. Thee of thy son, Alonso,

They have bereft, and do pronounce by me

Ling’ring perdition, worse than any death

Can be at once, shall step by step attend

You and your ways, whose wraths to guard you from –

Which here, in this most desolate isle, else falls

Upon your heads – is nothing but heart’s sorrow

And a clear life ensuing.



From The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

Act I, scene i, lines 124-139


My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,

At eighteen years became inquisitive

After his brother, and importun’d me

That his attendant, so his case was like,

Reft of his brother, but retain'd his name,

Might bear him company in the quest of him;

Whom whilst I labour'd of a love to see,

I hazarded the loss of whom I lov’d.

Five summers have I spent in farthest Greece,

Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia,

And coasting homeward came to Ephesus,

Hopeless to find, yet loth to leave unsought

Or that or any place that harbours men:

But here must end the story of my life,

And happy were I in my timely death,

Could all my travels warrant me they live.


Act II, scene i, lines 87-101


His company must do his minions grace,

Whilst I at home starve for a merry look.

Hath homely age th’alluring beauty took

From my poor cheek?then he hath wasted it.

Are my discourses dull? barren my wit?

If voluble and sharp discourse be marr'd,

Unkindness blunts it more than marble hard.

Do their gay vestments his affections bait?

That's not my fault, he's master of my state.

What ruins are in me that can be found

By him not ruin'd? Then is he the ground

Of my defeatures; My decayed fair

A sunny look of his would soon repair;

But, too unruly deer, he breaks the pale

And feeds from home; poor I am but his stale.



From Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

ACT I, SCENE I, lines 1 - 15


If music be the food of love, play on,

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again, it had a dying fall:

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour. Enough, no more:

'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,

That notwithstanding thy capacity

Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,

Of what validity and pitch soe'er,

But falls into abatement and low price,

Even in a minute! So full of shapes is fancy,

That it alone is high fantastical.


ACT 2, SCENE 2, lines 17 - 32


I left no ring with her: what means this lady?

Fortune forbid my outside have not charm'd her!

She made good view of me; indeed so much,

That sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue,

For she did speak in starts distractedly.

She loves me, sure; the cunning of her passion

Invites me in this churlish messenger.

None of my lord's ring? Why, he sent her none.

I am the man: if it be so, as 'tis,

Poor lady, she were better love a dream.

Disguise, I see, thou art a wickedness,

Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.

How easy is it for the proper-false

In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!

Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we!

For such as we are made of, such we be.