I need the historical context for the dramatic device aside? I have to write a report but am unable to find historical context.when it was first used famouse play for usage of aside changes to how...

I need the historical context for the dramatic device aside? I have to write a report but am unable to find historical context.

when it was first used

famouse play for usage of aside

changes to how it is used now

including dates of any other type of facts

 

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An “aside” is when a character speaks to the audience. The audience understands that the other characters cannot hear the speech. Sometimes the character directly addresses the audience with the aside, sometimes the character is speaking his/her thoughts aloud. It is different from a soliloquey because it is a very brief comment. This device was very common in Shakespeare, who used the device to give the audience additional insight into what was happening, or insight into the character’s thoughts (Iago used them quite a bit in Othello, Macbeth and Hamlet use them, etc.) The use of the aside goes back to the ancient Greeks. Aristophanes was a playwright that used them quite a bit, for example. They were used in Roman plays and Medieval plays as well.

In modern theatre, Strange Interlude by Eugene O’Neil has examples of asides. Within modern media – movies and TV --the aside has been replaced by things like voice-overs in which the audience is privy to a character’s thoughts, but the other characters are not. In Liar, Liar with Jim Carrey, for example, the audience is sometimes privy to the main character’s shocked reaction to what comes out of his mouth because it is not what he WANTS to say, but it is the truth.