What is irony?



pair of leather boots hanging on sconce
Photo by Helena Ije on Pexels.com



Irony is a term for a figure of speech.[1] Irony is when something happens that is opposite from what is expected. It can often be funny, but it is also used in tragedies. There are many types of irony, including those listed below:

  • Dramatic irony, when the audience knows something is going to happen on stage that the characters on stage do not.
  • Socratic irony, when someone (usually a teacher) pretends to be stupid in order to show how stupid his pupils are (while at the same time the reader or audience understand the situation).
  • Cosmic irony, when something that everyone thinks will happen actually happens very differently.
  • Situational irony e.g. Mr. Smith gets a parking ticket. This is ironic because Mr. Smith is a traffic warden.
  • Verbal irony is an absence of expression and intention. Sarcasm may sometimes involve verbal irony.
  • Irony of fate is the misfortune in the result of fate or chance.
  • The difference between of things seem to be or reality.

Examples[change | change source]

  • In Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet takes a potion that will put her to sleep, making her look dead. She does this in the hopes of being reunited with Romeo. He incorrectly learns of her death, and kills himself. This is an example of dramatic irony, as the reader/viewer knows she is not dead, but Romeo does not.
  • A common example of cosmic irony could be that a child wants some kind of pudding, and misbehaves to try to get it. The parent withholds it because of the child’s behavior.
  • Verbal irony can be found in sarcasm, but not just that.
  • In Sophocles‘ play Oedipus Rex, Oedipus acts out based on the knowledge of his fate which in turn leads to the fulfillment of the tragic fate. This is an example of how fate plays on irony.

2 thoughts on “What is irony?

  1. Dear, dear friend, as you might know i taught in a university and was a free-lance lecture.r I guess I was using what you tell me is Socratic irony where the teacher pretends he’s stupiid.. Then I thought “Maybe I wasn’t preteding, but was stupid.” Ha-ha. Thank you for the post, and best wished for a happy New Year.

    1. That made me laugh,dearest David.Just what I needed.If one can convey that one is stupid but with diligence became a professor, it might encourage the students.Love and best wishes for 2020,Katherine

I welcome comments and criticism

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.