tedium as a result of repetition or a lack of variety
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Monotone refers to a sound, for example speech or music, that has a single unvaried tone. Similarly, monotony is a tedium as a result of repetition or a lack of variety.
- But when ﬁrst the two black dragons sprang out of the fog upon the small clerk, they had merely the eﬀect of all miracles – they changed the universe. He discovered the fact that all romantics know – that adventures happen on dull days, and not on sunny ones. When the cord of monotony is stretched most tight, it it breaks with a sound like song.
- G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Book I, Ch. 2 (1904)
- Monotony has nothing to do with a place; monotony, either in its sensation or its infliction, is simply the quality of a person. There are no dreary sights; there are only dreary sightseers.
- G. K. Chesterton, A Romance of the Marshes, from Alarms and Discursions (1910)
- We all try to camouflage the monotony, But it takes a lot of energy. To insist on being special all the time. When we're so much like one another anyway. Our triumphs are the same. Our pain. Try for a moment to feel what relief there is in the ordinary.
- Peter Høeg, The Quiet Girl (2006)
- We welcome almost any break in the monotony of things, and a man has only to murder a series of wives in a new way to become known to millions of people who have never heard of Homer.
- The distinct feature of everything extant is its monotony.
- Vladimir Nabokov, "La Veneziana", ch. 5, (1924); from The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov (1995)
- We're in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it's all gone.
- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Ch. 1 (1974)
- Everlastingly chained to a single little fragment of the whole, man himself develops into nothing but a fragment; everlastingly in his ear the monotonous sound of the wheel that he turns, he never develops the harmony of his being, and instead of putting the stamp of humanity upon his own nature, he becomes nothing more than the imprint of his occupation or of his specialized knowledge.
- Friedrich Schiller, The Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), Sixth Letter
- Ordinary society is... very like the kind of music to be obtained from an orchestra composed of Russian horns. Each horn has only one note... In the monotonous sound of a single horn, you have a precise illustration of the effect of most people’s minds. How often there seems to be only one thought there! and no room for any other. It is easy to see why people are so bored; and also why they are sociable, why they like to go about in crowds—why mankind is so gregarious. It is the monotony of his own nature that makes a man find solitude intolerable. ... Put a great many men together, and you may get some result—some music from your horns!
- Arthur Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims, T. B. Saunders, trans., § 9
- Monotony of evil: never anything new, everything about it is equivalent. ... It is because of this monotony that quantity plays so great a part. A host of women (Don Juan) or of men (Célimène), etc.
- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (1972), p. 62
- What is termed Sin is an essential element of progress. Without it the world would stagnate, or grow old, or become colourless. By its curiosity Sin increases the experience of the race. Through its intensified assertion of individualism it saves us from monotony of type. In its rejection of the current notions about morality, it is one with the higher ethics.
- Oscar Wilde, Gilbert in The Critic as Artist, pt. 1 (1891)