Irony pervades contemporary language. From its use in sarcasm, comedy and just everyday conversation, irony has long transcended from only being a literary device.
Irony can best be defined as that middle ground between what is said and what is meant, or others’ understanding of what was said and what was meant. It can sometimes be a bit confusing, yet at the same time it can also be amusing. There are several examples of irony which can be summed up in various categories.
This type of irony may occur when the outcome of a certain situation is completely different than what was initially expected. It is often referred to as an “irony of events.”
Examples of irony in the situational category include a contradiction or sharp contrast:
A man who is a traffic cop gets his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets.
For more examples, check out Examples of Irony in History.
This type of irony can be attributed to some sort of misfortune. Usually cosmic irony is seen as the end result of fate or chance.
In examples of cosmic irony the outcome of a person's actions is often out of their control:
Dramatic irony occurs when there is miscommunication in a book, play or film and the audience knows more than the characters. This creates suspense or humor.
These examples of dramatic irony show how the writer heighten's the audience's anticipation, hopes or fears:
As you can see, this type of irony is most often use in tragedies and horror stories. It heightens the tension and demonstrates the painful consequences of misunderstandings.
For more examples, take a look at Dramatic Irony Examples.
This type of irony is most often found in the world of academia and is related to the Socratic teaching method. The Socratic teaching method encourages students to think and present opposing views while the teacher plays ignorant to guide students toward learning for themselves rather than just telling them. For example:
Socratic irony can be used as a tactical strategy in getting what you want.
Sarcasm is a form of irony where the user intends to wittily attack or make a derogatory statement about something or someone. Often, sarcasm is confused with irony instead of recognized as a form of irony.
Sarcasm can often be funny and witty, yet simultaneously it can be hurtful and humiliating:
Like all figures of speech, ironic statements or ironic situations in literature add interest or intrigue.
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