Soliloquy: A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to themself or reveals their thoughts without addressing a listener.
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Thinking Loudly occurs in the odd circumstance that a character is talking to himself/herself out loud and they could easily be thinking the same thing, but just don't. Villains do this a LOT. It's usually a form of As You Know
: often the character would be better off hiding their thoughts from people who might hear them, but, of course, the audience needs to be informed...
The difference with Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
is that that trope incorporates an Outer Monologue when other characters are in the room and happen to hear what the character was thinking because
he/she blurted it out. This is where they are speaking out loud intentionally, and/or if they learn nothing from the experience.
and Inner Monologue
are tropes which are deliberate aversions. Inner Monologue
conversation is an aversion in which others respond anyway. Audience Monologue
is similar, but is intentionally directed to the audience. Breaking the Fourth Wall
and addressing the audience is another aversion, but much older. If the character is looking in the direction of the audience but not saying anything that strictly proves they're aware of the audience rather than just Thinking Out Loud, that's Aside Comment
. Placebo Eureka Moment
is when there is
someone else there, but the character isn't really talking to
them. An extremely common case of Truth in Television
; people often forget to close their mouths while thinking.
Interestingly, talking out loud has been studied; it's formally known as private speech or egocentric speech. Although it's often stereotyped as a bad habit, one of the earliest defenders of the practice was Lev Vygotsky, who studied private speech in children and reasoned that speaking out loud while performing tasks tended to help the child perform better.
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Anime & Manga
- Deadpool, as Medium Aware as he is, sometimes thinks out loud completely unintentionally. This "outer monologue" often still uses the narrative boxes. Example from Cable & Deadpool issue 30:
Mr Immortal: "We are not feebs!"
Deadpool: Hey, that's twice now. What's going on here?
Big Bertha: "You're saying everything out loud!"
Deadpool: I am?
Big Bertha: "Yes!"
- Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: A downright ridiculous example is the Disney comic "The Mystery of the Old Mansion", where the villain is busy with his work, unaware of anything else being present, and suddenly, for no reason, he spontaneously decides to recite four pages' worth of backstory, complete with dramatic acting.
- Lampshaded in "Snow It Goes", where the villain, in the middle of his soliloquy, mentions that he's going to use the money gained from his scheme for psychiatric therapy to cure his urge to talk to himself.
- Extremely common in Super Hero comics in general, at least as recently as the Bronze Age. Characters' thoughts would be written in regular round voice bubbles half the time, rather than bumpy thought bubbles, indicating that they were speaking out loud. It would frankly be easier to list superheroes of the era who did not do this.
- Of particular note though is the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15, where Spider-Man announces quite clearly that he is Peter Parker while holding a ne'er-do-well in one hand, thus telling him his Secret Identity.
- Retconned in the more recent Amazing Fantasy series in a two-page story called "I was the Guy in Spider-Man's Armpit," where he was just a White Collar Worker who fell out of his office window and Spider-Man saved. He was too busy screaming in terror to hear what Spider-Man was saying.
- Doctor Doom does this a lot. In Secret Wars, Klaw calls him out on it, asking if Doom is taping himself. Doom then reveals that he is, because "Every utterance of Doom must be recorded for posterity!"
- In the first Austin Powers movie, after Austin himself is thawed out, he monologues out loud his desire to sleep with this movie's Bond Girl, then realizes that everyone in the room heard him. That is an example of Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, but when he says a side effect of the cryonic freezing process has left him with no inner monologue, that is Thinking Loudly.
- In Waterworld, the main characters meet a tramp sailor who's been alone on his ship so long, he talks out loud to himself without realizing he's doing it. He even mutters his own thoughts of betraying them in front of the new arrivals.
- Lampshaded in the Children of the Corn (2009) remake, in which the harried hero's verbal monologue is echoed by his inner monologue, culminating with him both saying and thinking to himself that he needs to stop talking to himself.
- Happens in a big way in Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series. Noise is basically broadcasting your thoughts.
- Miles Vorkosigan does this a lot, in keeping with his hyperactive and not-entirely-stable personality. He mentions on one occasion that he likes to think out loud because it slows down his thoughts to the point where he can get a good look at them, and also admits that very few people can stand to listen to him for long. On another occasion he actually uses this - ranting about how everyone always thinks Ivan is the smart one, and the bad guys have exposed their entire scheme for the sake of grabbing the expendable Barrayaran, and it's been like this since they were kids, y'know... - to provide a distraction for an ally, who takes so long to spring her ambush that even Miles starts to worry he's going to run out of things to say.
- The Light Fantastic: Galder Weatherwax mutters calculations under his breath before firing the magic arrow intended to get the Eighth Spell.
Live Action Television
- Babylon 5: Commander Ivanova was occasionally prone to making deadpan observations about the situation, sometimes even looking upwards to direct them to God (similar to Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof) when she was particularly exasperated.
- Meanwhile, the episode Rumors, Bargains, and Lies featured a very energetic Captain Sheridan mumbling to himself and making random outbursts at breakfast as he concocts his plan to get the League of Nonaligned Worlds cooperate with his attempts to deploy his forces to keep the peace between them. This gets lampshaded by his junior officers who decide this is a side effect of Delenn (Sheridan's Love Interest and sounding board) being elsewhere for a few episodes.
- Doctor Who:
- The First Doctor's speech after all his companions leave him for the first time and he realises he has no way of quitting his life of random, aimless travel.
- The Fourth Doctor is a chronic and indulgent self-talker, pointed out by Sarah Jane in his second story (she theorises to a side character that he talks to himself because he's the only person who understands what he's on about). This is quite helpful in circumstances where he's cut off from the companion, especially in "The Deadly Assassin" which has no companion at all, and relishes scenes such as him casually mumbling half-formed jokes and yelling solipsistically at the political broadcast on television. As his tenure continued this became closer and closer to making him a Fourth Wall Observer - his commentary started to get more meta, and he'd combine self-talking with the Aside Glance. In one of his Big Finish Doctor Who stories, there's an extended scene of him having a solitary mental breakdown while ranting at his hat stand before smashing it to pieces.
- Because of the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, talking to himself is actually considered a character trait of the Eighth Doctor.
- In "Mummy on the Orient Express", the Twelfth Doctor is shown talking to himself in his room, acting out the other half of the conversation with an impression of the Fourth Doctor's voice.
- On Selfie, Henry is alone for the weekend, after several other characters have impugned his boring, work-based life-style. So he goes through his fridge and starts talking to his various yogurt in a kind of English, Medieval accent.
Henry: You sir Boysenberry shall reign until the first of the month. Whereas your days, Lord Key Lime of Custard, are numbered. You there! You sneaky Greek bastard. *normal voice* Expired? *English voice* You will hang for your crime! *Throws yogurt out.* I gotta get out of the house.
- The characters on Criminal Minds often do this if someone else isn't present, usually starting with "I'm the UNSUB." Lampshaded in one episode when Prentiss was muttering about what she was doing (reenacting the victim's last moments) when another character came up behind her.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Conspiracy," Data starts doing this, and then overexplains the concept to the computer before it tells him to shut up.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "By Inferno's Light," Garak is working in a tight, enclosed space inside the wall to rewire a computer system so the group can escape a Dominion internment camp. After turning off the only light source he has, which is beginning to die on him, he begins talking to himself which is really thinking out loud. The talking to himself is also justified in that he's in the process of spiralling down into a full blown claustrophobic attack and he's desperately trying to avert the attack he can feel approaching by pep-talking himself. This is convenient because it's also the only way the audience learns he has a history of claustrophobia and how it started which, for such a private character who loathes revealing weakness, would never have been something the audience would have otherwise learned.
- In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Dean continues to declare his love of pie after Sam leaves him alone in the car.
- Sami Callihan has a tendency to announce his attentions or otherwise say plans or let out random musings he's better off keeping to himself.
- SHINE wrestler Kimberly is prone to such, sometimes seemingly unaware that people can hear her.
- Radio Dramas are prone to this, because, you know, how would you tell the difference between narration and someone talking to himself?
- In Forsooth! everyone's primary character gets one soliloquy per session. These are very useful for winning applause from other players.
- Max from Max Overacts has received talks from both his Mum and his Teacher about soliloquies.
- In Outsider, there is a scene where Alex, a human, is talking to a Loroi, who have never made contact with humans before. The Loroi in question, Beryl, is wondering what the words "Um," means in the human language, to which Alex replies that he tends to "Think Out Loud." Beryl bursts into laughter, thinking he told a joke, before realizing he was being serious. The Loroi are unused to verbal communication, preferring telepathy, so...
- Jon in Garfield Minus Garfield does this all the time for the simple reason that the comic has been made by removing all other main characters. Of course, the other interpretation is that he's talking to imaginary characters.
- In El Goonish Shive, Chika has a tendency to answer readers' questions without realizing it; usually by thinking about the answer to the questions out loud.
- Ruby of Sticky Dilly Buns makes the mistake of thinking aloud at the wrong moment here.
- Professor Farnsworth, in the Futurama episode The Sting, does this intentionally to get a point across:
- Dib from Invader Zim did this so often that his outer monologues eventually were punctuated exclusively by people confused about this, including he himself wondering why he does it.
- A version of this occurs in Phineas and Ferb with Candace constantly talking to herself, pointing to that she also assumes everyone she knows has heard what she said. Played for laughs when she tells Phineas she's gonna call mom "...And this time I'm not using the banana!"
- Jimmy Two-Shoes from the episode Jimmy and Beezy on the Run: "Maybe you're right. Maybe Miseryville has finally gotten to the Jimmy! Maybe, just maybe... I've gone bad!" Beezy responds by saying: "Enough with the thinking out loud!"
- The Great Mouse Detective: Basil did this often, most notably (and awesomely) when tied up in Ratigan's Death Trap.
- In the Mixels episode Murp Romp, Magnifo inadvertently does this. He turns away to give himself a pep talk about how his next show won't be like the last one (which culminated in himself disintegrating into ashes). While giving his pep talk, he has no idea that he's screaming about how awesome he is...and once he realizes this, he, very embarrassed, makes a hasty retreat.
- Some people really do catch themselves doing this sometimes, or so I tell myself.
- The tendency can be aggravated in periods of extreme stress or tiredness.
- It can also be 'aggravated' if one who does this a lot of the time is in an energetic mood.
- Repeatedly and unconsciously speaking your thoughts out loud is one of the less well-known symptoms on the Autistic Spectrum.
- Persons living with ADD or ADHD, some learning disabilities or traumatic brain injuries that impair attention or concentration, and recovering stimulant addicts are actually often encouraged to use this as a coping mechanism for deficits in attention and concentration. It works to some degree to combat lack of focus and forgetfulness.
- Some people who acquired an hearing impairment, that use to sub-vocalize their thoughts, tend to do so. Can become quite tiresome for the people around them, as they find themselves forced to filter out the incessant flow of thoughts to find the phrases that are actually addressed to them.
- Depending on how one processes information, hearing the information can help with reasoning through it or holding details in memory until dealt with.
- Common among artists, musicians, and writers while working, as a means of information processing or keeping track of what they are doing, especially if they are still developing familiarity with a computer program, for example, or they are working in a second language. To anyone unfamiliar, this may be taken as a sign of being The Mentally Disturbed, but one way to tell the difference is that this kind of self-talk is generally related to a process (anything from the words of a written blog post to "move this track two down, volume up here, tempo change on the drums" or similar) or almost incoherent with broken words related to the process possibly in both languages because it's mumbled - it isn't usually conversational dialogue as if the person is talking to someone.
- When studying, it is recommended that you not only read or listen to the information, but also write it down and talk about it out loud, as this engages multiple parts of your brain and may help you process and keep the information better. This is one reason why group discussion is a fairly common part of classroom activities. Related is the process of verbally repeating the instructions you have just been given to verify that you understood what you have been told to do (common in radio communication, aircraft crews, and similar situations).