Poetry is often used as a medium for plays. The essential difference between dramatic poetry and other types is that in dramatic poetry the words are presented as those of a character rather than of the poet himself. Dramatic poetry, therefore, expresses the author's thought not directly but through such dramatic elements as dialogue, character depiction, and the rendering of scenes and situations. Shakespeare's plays are in dramatic blank verse for the most part, as are those of Christopher Marlowe. Rhymed couplets served as the poetic medium for the tragedies of the French playwrights Racine and Cor-neille and for most of the great comedies of Moliere. However, dramatic verse is frequently employed in poems that are not necessarily meant to be performed on the stage. Famous dramatic poems include Milton's Samson Agonistes, Goethe's Faust, and Robert Frost's The Death of the Hired Man.
The dramatic monologue is a poem spoken by a single character. Like other dramatic poems the monologue is generally concerned with character and situation rather than with a direct expression of the author's feelings. The setting, situation, history of the speaker, and even the actions of the audience are often suggested in the monologue. Robert Browning wrote many well-known dramatic monologues, including My Last Duchess, Rabbi Ben Ezra, and Fra Lippo Lippi. An important modern dramatic monologue is The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.