Aside In Julius Caesar

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In plays, an aside is spoken by an actor but not to the people he is talking to.  It's like the actor takes a break from a conversation to talk to the audience.  When he does this, the point is usually to fill the audience in on something that's going on or to tell them what he is thinking with regard to the conversation.

The first two asides in William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" comes at the end of Act II, Scene 2 where the following conversations

CAESAR

Bid them prepare within:
I am to blame to be thus waited for.
Now, Cinna: now, Metellus: what, Trebonius!
I have an hour's talk in store for you;
Remember that you call on me to-day:
Be near me, that I may remember you.

TREBONIUS

Caesar, I will:

Aside

and so near will I be,
That your best friends shall wish I had been further.

CAESAR

Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me;
And we, like friends, will straightway go together.

BRUTUS [Aside] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!

In this case, both Trebonius and Brutus use asides to tell us what they are really thinking as they speak to Ceasar.

If you want more asides, follow the link below and then type "aside" in the find function on your browser.

juanamac's profile pic

juanamac | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Shakespeare uses asides as vehicles for the characters to express their truth and inner thoughts aloud to the audience to hear, whilst the other characters cannot hear them.  With an aside we always see the truth for that character, so it is an important device to recognize.

Several characters specifically use asides in "Julius Caesar".

Trebonius is one of the conspirators in the assassination of Julius Caesar.  In Act 2, Scene 2, we see his aside when Julius asks him (and others) to stay close.  His response aloud is, 

''Caesar, I will.''

Then, to himself, as an aside,

''and so near will I be, That your best friends shall wish I had been further.''

He is alluding to the fact that all those Caesar wishes to have close, will end up being those who bring about his demise.

Shortly after this aside, we have Caesar asking his good friends inside, only to have an aside from Brutus:

[Aside] That every like is not the same, O Caesar,
The heart of Brutus yearns to think upon!

Brutus is saying to the audience that Caesar isn't aware that those who he thinks are his friends, are merely pretending to be like his friends as they are planning his demise.

Interestingly Trebonius and Brutus are both sharing asides in quick succession.  They are both on the same page, aware of the plan to kill Caesar, yet outwardly acting like it is business as usual.  Both characters have similar feelings about the upcoming assassination, yet do not speak aloud about their true feelings of duplicity.

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