We recently found that the intensity of the electric near field of a triangular aperture in a metal film is strongly localized at one edge of the aperture for incident light polarized perpendicular to this edge. Previous numerical calculations of the near field of a triangular aperture in a planar metal film, using the field susceptibility technique, yielded a nearly quantitative agreement with the experiments. Using this numerical technique, we have investigated the influence of an obliquely incident plane wave on the near field of small circular and triangular apertures. An interpretation of the numerical results leads to a deeper understanding of the way in which light transmission through the aperture is excited. The data suggest that after excitation of currents in the metal film by the incident light, a scattering of these currents by the aperture generates the near field of the aperture. We found that the excitation of small apertures (size <100 nm) is due to a tangential magnetic field whereas the perpendicular electric field plays no role. The excitation of a small aperture can thus be described exclusively by a magnetic polarizability. We found that for thin metal films an interference of the scattered field with the field transmitted through the metal film changes the near field pattern.