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What are some examples of asides in Romeo and Juliet?

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lukefettig | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 24, 2014 at 11:41 PM via iOS

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What are some examples of asides in Romeo and Juliet?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:25 AM (Answer #1)

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For audiences, asides are enjoyable as the player speaks to them indirectly on or near an edge of the stage, thus drawing the audience into his/her thoughts and the action. In comedies they are especially delightful, and one can easily imagine how much the groundlings enjoyed them. These asides, spoken in an undertone by the characters, allow the audience to know the true feelings and thoughts of these characters rather than the pretense of feeling that they make to others in the scene with them. 

In Romeo and Juliet, as in other Shakespearean plays, asides are indicated in italics and enclosed in brackets: [Aside] These stage directions precede the actor's words and alert the reader/audience that only they are privy to these thoughts.

  • In Act I, Scene 1, in which the servants of the feuding Montagues and Capulets fight in the streets of Verona, Sampson and Gregory, servants of Capulet speak to each other amid the fray.

Sampson [Aside to Gregory] Is the law of our side, if I say aye? (1.1.25)

Gregory [Aside to Sampson] Say "Better." Here comes one of my master's kinsmen. (1.1.33)

  • In Act III, Scene 5, Lady Capulet misinterprets Juliet's tears after Tybalt's death, declaring that Juliet weeps that the "villain," Romeo, who has slain Tybalt, yet lives.

Juliet [Aside] Villain and he be many miles asunder
                      God pardon him!....(3.5.82)

  • In Act IV, Scene 1, Friar Laurence expresses his thoughts as Paris wonders why the sudden haste of Capulet now to have Juliet and him marry:

Friar Laurence [Aside] I would I knew not why it should be slowed. Look, sir, here comes the lady toward my cell. (4.1.16-17)

  • In Act V, Scene 3 there are two asides, one by the page of Paris who wait outside the catacomb for his master--

Page [Aside] I am almost afraid to stand alone
Here in the churchyard, yet I will adventure. (5.3.10)

  • and the other one spoken by Balthasar, servant to Romeo, who also awaits his master on the outside of the tomb:

Blathasar [Aside] For all this same, I'll hide hereabout. (5.3.43)

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