Asides in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Instructor: Jacob Belknap

Jake has taught English in middle and high school, has a degree in Literature, and has a master's degree in teaching.

William Shakespeare expertly uses the literary device of an aside in his magical play ''A Midsummer Night's Dream.'' Read this lesson to explore what makes an aside and how Shakespeare uses them in this play.

What Is an Aside?

Have you ever been in a group but wanted to tell only one person a secret so no one else could hear? It is tough to share that special comment or insight with someone when you know the idea is too private for others. Playwrights have the same problem. Luckily, they get around this problem with help from an aside. An aside is a literary device an author may use which involves a character turning away from other characters to address the audience privately or think aloud. This is done to show the character's motivations, musings, or inner thoughts. Even if other characters are on stage, it is understood that they cannot hear what the character saying the aside says.

Now we will review generally what happens in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream before moving on to our exploration of asides within the text.

Synopsis of A Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare's tale of magic, love, and games comes to the stage in his play A Midsummer Night's Dream. In what is arguably his most popular comedy, Shakespeare begins his story in the middle of a discussion of love, marriage, and duty. This sets up the play's focus on love and how it affects people. Romantic interests get blurred in the story as warring fairies use their magic to make people fall in and out of love. People who once loved each other are made to fall in love with someone else entirely. A play within a play develops and even those actors of this inner play are drawn into the love games. By the end, the bewitched people wake up as if from a dream and several marriages take place.

William Shakespeare, the author of A Midsummer Night
will

To better understand the literary device of an aside, we will now look to specific examples from the play.

Examples

Through all of these games of magical trickery that the fairies play, this play could have become confusing for the reader. Part of the success of this popular play is owed to the asides which help the reader keep up with what the author intends for his audience to understand. The following are some of those asides:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support