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An aside is a dramatic device in which a character speaks to the audience. Aside_sentence_0

By convention the audience is to realize that the character's speech is unheard by the other characters on stage. Aside_sentence_1

It may be addressed to the audience expressly (in character or out) or represent an unspoken thought. Aside_sentence_2

An aside is usually a brief comment, rather than a speech, such as a monologue or soliloquy. Aside_sentence_3

Unlike a public announcement, it occurs within the context of the play. Aside_sentence_4

An aside is, by convention, a true statement of a character's thought; a character may be mistaken in an aside, but may not be dishonest. Aside_sentence_5

In literature, a narrator’s aside provides commentary on a character or other important information for the reader. Aside_sentence_6

For example, the writer of the Acts of the Apostles offers commentary on the beliefs of the Sadducees and Pharisees through an aside which the New Revised Standard Version puts in parenthesis: “The Sadducees say there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three” (Acts 23:8). Aside_sentence_7

Examples Aside_section_0

This technique is used by many playwrights, including William Shakespeare. Aside_sentence_8

For instance, in the play Macbeth, Macbeth has the following aside: Aside_sentence_9

Another example is found in Hamlet: Aside_sentence_10

This technique has frequently been used in film comedy, for example in the Bob Hope "Road" comedies, Woody Allen comedies and in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Aside_sentence_11

The Jean-Luc Godard film Breathless contains an early use of character aside. Aside_sentence_12

More recently, it is used by Ian Richardson's character Francis Urquhart in the 1990 BBC mini-series House of Cards, as well as Kevin Spacey's character Frank Underwood in the 2013 Netflix original series of the same name. Aside_sentence_13

It can be used to explain the often complex politics on the show, describe what the character's plans/emotions are or simply for humorous effect. Aside_sentence_14

Uses Aside_section_1

Aside is used to gossip about other characters without their awareness, give audiences better understanding of matters, as well as make audiences laugh; this humour that may be generated is because the character or characters being talked about is or are not conscious of the fact they are being spoken of. Aside_sentence_15

See also Aside_section_2


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