Lots of world know what irony is however find it difficult to explain – despite all those high school English lessons.

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So here"s an irony definition. It"s a literary device that highlights the incongruity (a sophisticated word because that "difference") in between one"s expectation because that a situation, and also the reality.

Part of the reason people find it difficult to give a an interpretation of irony is due to the fact that of Alanis Morissette"s 1995 hit song "Ironic". Morissette sings around a variety of situations – favor rain on one"s wedding job – that, when inconvenient, aren"t ironic. Which means people choose us must rescue storytellers anywhere by writing a blog that describes what this literature term actually is. (You"re welcome.)

A little bit that history

Although she popularised irony, Alanis Morissette didn"t design it. The honour goes come the Greek character, Eiron. He was an underdog who provided his significant wit come fight an additional character. This spawned the Greek word eironeía, the literal an interpretation of i m sorry is "purposely affected ignorance." it then gotten in Latin together ironia, before ending up being a famous English figure of decided in the 16th century.

The 3 different species of irony

1. Dramatic irony


Dramatic irony is when your audience has an ext information 보다 your character(s) in a story. This nifty literary machine became well-known in Greek tragedy – and, true to the genre, the different allude of view regularly leads to tragic outcomes.

One famous instance of dramatic irony is in Shakespeare"s quit hit, Othello. The audience knows that Othello"s BFF Iago is a negative guy who desires to destroy Othello. The audience likewise knows that Desdemona has been faithful. Othello doesn"t know either of these things. This means that the audience can sense some unavoidable fireworks – while negative Othello stays in the dark.

There space three step to dramatic irony: installation, exploitation, and resolution. In Othello"s case:

The installation happens when Iago persuades Othello that Desdemona is having an affair v the mysterious Cassio (not to be puzzled with the watch brand) The exploitation happens once Iago tree Desdemona’s handkerchief, a gift from Othello, in Cassio’s roomThe resolution happens when Othello murders Desdemona after her girlfriend Emilia states what Iago"s to be up to

A typical example the dramatic irony: In the film The Truman Show, wherein Truman is the only human being who doesn"t recognize that he"s gift filmed all the time.

2. Situational irony


Situational irony is as soon as the outcome of a case is completely different native what civilization expect. This kind of irony is a literary method that"s riddled through contradictions and also contrasts.

For example, in the book The wonderful Wizard of Oz, every the human being in Emerald City assume the its Oz is powerful and impressive. However, Oz turns out to be the precise opposite: an old guy with no distinct powers.

A usual example that situational irony: In 1925, when the brand-new York Times claimed the crossword puzzle to be a craze that was “dying out fast”. The didn"t age well.

3. Verbal irony


Verbal irony is when your speaker states something that"s the opposite come what they mean. While the sounds similar to sarcasm, it"s not precisely the same. People usually usage sarcasm to strike something, yet that"s not always the situation with irony.

Our old girlfriend Alanis Morrissette did control to get one example of irony into her song. When the guy (in the song) whose airplane is walking down says "Well, isn"t this nice", it"s clearly in the kind of linguistic irony. He"s not actually happy the the plane"s around to crash, for this reason his statement is opposing of what he means.

One more note: unlike dramatic irony and also situational irony, verbal irony is always an intentional move by the speaker.

A usual example of linguistic irony: When people say "What a pleasant day!" when there"s a thunderstorm outside. The jokers.

Examples that irony

Dramatic irony example: The Gift of the Magi


O. Henry"s brief story The Gift the the Magi is jam-packed v irony, all in the surname of to teach the reader around sacrifice and love. As soon as Della opens up her gift of tortoiseshell combs native Jim, it"s dramatic irony since she briefly forgets the her hair is too quick to wear them. It"s additionally dramatic irony if the leader guesses in breakthrough that Jim sold his clock to buy the priceless combs.

Situational irony example: Pride and also Prejudice


Jane Austen to be a large fan the irony, filling her novels v the stuff. At an early stage in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is asked come play and also sing at a party at Lucas Lodge. At the very same time, sir Lucas is make the efforts to persuade Mr. Darcy come dance, an sell that the rejects. Yet then teacher Lucas spies Elizabeth, and also encourages Mr. Darcy to ask she for a run – which he dutifully does. It"s a full reversal of his previously behaviour (he insurance claims to dislike dancing), making the the perfect example of situational irony.

Verbal irony example: Julius Caesar


Our mate wilhelm Shakespeare worries a cracking instance of verbal irony in his play Julius Caesar. When note Antony claims "But Brutus states he to be ambitious; / and also Brutus is an honourable man", it appears as if he"s praising Brutus after ~ the assassination of Julius Caesar. However, it"s nothing however a witty ruse. Mark Antony is in reality implying that Brutus isn"t ambitious or honourable at all. Sneaky!

Other types of irony

For bonus points, right here are a couple of extra species of irony. They"re perfect because that days as soon as you desire to dial the irony every the method up to eleven.

Cosmic irony is as soon as irony goes come a entirety other, godly level. Why? because you only get it in story that save gods who want different things come humans. These gods could play v humans" resides for kicks, creating oodles of ironic situations. The irony is the contrast in between what the people expect, and what actually happens. This kind of irony mostly occurs in Greek legends.

Historical irony is all about real occasions that – when you look at them in the rearview winter – turned out a lot different than people predicted. Prefer the Chinese alchemists who discovered gunpowder as soon as they were in search of a method to produce immortality. Their discovery had an entirely opposite effect.

Socratic irony was called after the philosopher Socrates. This old rascal would certainly pretend to not know around a topic during a debate, top his foe to disclose all their nonsensical arguments. It"s likewise an example of dramatic irony due to the fact that mischievous Socrates was pretending to have less details than he actually did.

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Tragic irony is a little step increase from dramatic irony. We watch it in Romeo and Juliet, where our 2 lovers find out the truth slightly as well late to protect against a tragedy. Therefore the "tragic" part.