Romeo speaks an aside in “Romeo and Juliet” Act II, Scene ii, as he is standing beneath the balcony where Juliet is speaking, unaware that anyone is listening. Romeo responds to Juliet’s declaration of love by asking, “Shall I hear more, or shall I speak now?”

The literary term aside refers to statements spoken to the audience by one of the characters in a play. No other characters hear the dialogue. Romeo has heard Juliet express her intimate thoughts in this example. His aside reveals that he is undecided as to whether he should respond, so betraying his presence, or stay and listen to more.

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