A Definition

  • When a character in a play speaks to the audience, and the other characters can't hear it.
    • This is a short bit of dialogue, said usually while other characters are on stage. Longer bits of conversation with the audience are usually called soliloquies.

Notable Examples:

  • Shakespeare uses asides often. As Romeo debates whether to talk to Juliet while she speaks on the balcony, he says to the audience, "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?" (II.ii.37)
    • It is understood that Juliet does not hear Romeo, though he speaks his line at full volume, for the audience to hear.