Home Criticism Aside Definition in Literature

Aside Definition in Literature


Aside Definition in Literature

Aside Definition in Literature

Aside Definition in Literature

Aside Definition in Literature

Introduction & Definition:

In literature, an aside is a dramatic device in which a character speaks directly to the audience or to another character but is not heard by the other characters on stage. It is a brief departure from the main action to share thoughts, reflections, or secrets. Asides are often used to provide additional insight into a character’s motivations, emotions, or intentions. Aside Definition in Literature

Aspects of Asides in Literature:

Direct Address to the Audience: An aside involves a character directly addressing the audience, breaking the fourth wall and creating a sense of intimacy or shared information.

Example: In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Hamlet delivers an aside when he says, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” sharing his inner thoughts with the audience.*

Not Heard by Other Characters: One defining feature of an aside is that it is not heard by the other characters in the scene. It is a private moment shared with the audience or, in some cases, with a specific character.

Example: In “Macbeth,” after hearing the witches’ prophecies, Macbeth delivers an aside expressing his thoughts on becoming king.

Revealing Inner Thoughts: Asides provide a glimpse into a character’s inner thoughts, revealing their true feelings, doubts, or intentions. This insight can create dramatic irony, where the audience knows something the other characters do not.

Example: In Shakespeare’s “Othello,” Iago often uses asides to reveal his deceptive plans and thoughts to the audience.

Functions of Asides in Literature:

Character Development: Asides allow for the development of characters by providing additional information about their personalities, conflicts, or hidden agendas.

Example: In “Julius Caesar,” Cassius delivers an aside expressing his jealousy of Caesar, contributing to the development of his character.

Dramatic Irony: Asides in literature can create dramatic irony when the audience is aware of information that the characters on stage are not. This adds tension and depth to the dramatic situation.

Example: In “Romeo and Juliet,” Romeo delivers an aside expressing his love for Juliet even though the audience knows he has just met her.

Engaging the Audience: Asides engage the audience directly, inviting them into the characters’ inner worlds. This engagement enhances the connection between the audience and the characters.

Example: In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Puck delivers asides that involve the audience in the magical events of the play.

Providing Commentary:

Asides can be used to provide commentary on the events or characters in the play, offering the audience insights or reflections that contribute to the overall meaning.

Example: In “Richard III,” the title character delivers asides that provide commentary on his manipulative schemes and ambitions.


Asides are a theatrical device that enriches the dramatic experience by allowing characters to share private thoughts directly with the audience. This technique adds depth to character development, creates dramatic tension, and engages the audience in a unique way, making it a valuable tool in dramatic literature. 0 0 0. Aside Definition in Literature

Aside Definition in Literature

You May Like:

  1. Mood Definition in Literature
  2. Definitions of Literature Through the Ages
  3. Birth Development and Function of Literature