Dramatic Irony: History and Explanation

What is Dramatic Irony?

Dramatic irony is a device of literacy where the understanding of the readers and audiences on any event or an individual in a work goes beyond the characters. Dramatic irony can be defined as a form of irony which is expressed through the structure of a work. It is found where the readers or the audience of any situation in which the characters of the work exist in substantially different forms other than that of the characters themselves and the actions and words of the characters taken in a contradictory manner. In this case, the actions or the words of the characters engaged in work get perceived in a different meaning where the characters of the work do not get understood properly. Dramatic irony is highly associated with the theatre but it can also be observed across performing arts and literacy. Dramatic irony takes place when the readers or the audiences are aware of something which the characters do not know actually. In one of the classical myths, Oedipus the main character leaves behind his family based on foretelling which said that he would marry his mother after killing his father. But in reality, he was unaware of the fact that he was not the biological child of his foster parents because he had been adopted. Oedipus ended up taking his biological father’s life and finally married his mother without being aware of the reality. This is one of the tragic examples explain in the concept of dramatic irony. If you are writing prose or a literal piece of work, feel free to take assistance from Assignment Help uk.

Dramatic irony can be defined as something which is known by the audiences concerning any particular event or situation but the characters of a play or movie or story who are not aware of such fact. The actions and the words of the characters take some different meaning because they are not aware of what the audiences or readers know about reality.  This thing creates intense humour or suspense. Tensions also develop between what the characters and the audiences know is going to happen. There can be several examples of dramatic irony. We can find dramatic irony in movies, literature, fairy tales, and television. We can even use dramatic irony in our own stories. In a movie, it can be portrayed that a woman assumes her boyfriend to be acting weirdly because he wants to propose her but the reality is known by the audiences which say that the boy is going to run away with some other woman giving rise to some intensifying emotions. In some horror movies, the characters may be entering into a house without knowing the fact that there is a murderer in the house which the audiences already know. This event increases suspense in the story. In some movies, it has been shown that an individual is disguising himself or herself and the audiences do not recognize him or her. This creates some humour in the story.

Dramatic irony is a special form of irony which is observed in theatrical and literary works where the audiences and readers know the facts or events more than the lead characters of the works. The actions of the characters are meant for some different meanings to the readers and audiences other than and they are supposed to mean for the characters or the actors. Sometimes, dramatic irony turns to increase tragedy. In a story or movie, it is quite common to observe that verbal or situational irony gets confused with dramatic irony but these three are different concepts. Dramatic irony is completely different from situational irony because, in situational irony, the audiences expect something and the reality or the event is something different. In the case of verbal irony, the words used have some other meaning than they are meant for. Dramatic irony takes place when the readers and audiences have more knowledge about the real facts or events which the characters or the actors do not have. In Literature, dramatic irony has been observed used widely. Suspense is a feeling or state of anxious uncertainty or excitement about any event. In suspense, the use of dramatic irony is popularly observed because the audiences and the readers could be made excited or anxious about the outcomes of the work. In suspense-based stories or movies, it can be seen that the readers and audiences are provided with every information which the actors and the characters do not have and the readers and the audiences feel the tension of the suspense since they cannot warn the actors of the characters about the facts. For more details on dramatic irony, please refer to online assignment help.

Some famous examples

In the famous story of Romeo Juliet by Shakespeare, the audiences of the readers are aware of the fact that Juliet has been drugged sleep so that Romeo could thing her as dead and take his own life in despair. This has increased the emotional shock of the audiences and readers. In Hamlet by Shakespeare, the audiences are well aware of the fact that Hamlet knew the truth about the murderer of his father and he was not mad. He just deceived the others because he had developed a plan of revenge. He did not reveal the true feelings to any of the characters of the story but the readers and the audiences have been aware of the entire reality. In King Lear by Shakespeare, another dramatic irony can be observed when the audiences and the readers are aware of the fact that Cordelia is the most loyal daughter of Lear which he could not observe. It is the movie of Star Wars, Luke was never aware of the fact that his father was Darth Vader until it has revealed in the fifth episode. But the audiences were aware of the fact much earlier than that of the character. In Macbeth, the audiences new that Macbeth has been acting loyal to Duncan while he was planning for his murder but Macbeth was unaware of the reality. Smallville is another television show where Clark Kent has been observed to have committed that he would not like to put on a suit while flying around but the audiences knew that he would do the same. In another movie of There’s Something About Mary, the audiences knew that Ted has been interrogated about a case of murder but the character thought that he was only arrested for some other reason. Here, the audiences could find some funny words because of the misunderstanding.

In another movie of Toy Story, the audiences were aware of the truth that the character was just a toy which the character Buzz Lightyear did not understand. In another famous story of the Beauty and the Beast, it has been observed that the audiences were well aware of the fact that the prince was the beast leading a cursed life but the character named Billy was unaware of the true identity of the Beast. In Frozen, it has been observed that the audiences are well aware of the fact that Elsa has been empowered by some magical powers which are difficult to control. Anna who is the sister of Elsa is unaware of the power and thought Elsa to be cold and standoffish. The reality is known by the audiences that Anna and Elsa are distant from each other and both of them are concerned about protecting each other. This has given some emotional feelings to the audiences. There are various Hitchcock films where the use of dramatic irony is widely observed. The world-famous suspense creator, Alfred Hitchcock has been referred to be the Master of Suspense. In the domain of suspense and horror movies, the use of dramatic irony is mostly found so that the audiences and the readers could feel the suspense and tensions. The author has used dramatic irony intending to create the suspense where the audiences knowing all the truths would not be able to warn the main characters and have to wait for the lead character to face the consequences.

In the famous Hitchcock movie of Psycho, it has been observed that the character Marion did not hear the psycho serial killer because she was taking a shower. But the truth was in front of the audiences who were aware of the event. Marion was completely clueless that she was going to be murdered which has enhanced tension and suspense in the audiences. In the movie The Birds, the character named Milani was portrayed to be walking on the attic which gradually got closed off. She did not know that the room was filled with many birds which the audiences knew. The suspense was created when Melanie was about to touch the doorknob with hesitation before she could enter the room. The audience developed some hope that should not be attacked by the birds. Again in Rope, the movie starts with the murder scene the audiences very well aware that the character David was killed and hidden in the chest which has been used as a table. But the movie showed that the characters were waiting for the arrival of David and the audiences already knew that he would never enter as he was already murdered. This has added some sort of humour in an ionic manner. In another movie of North by Northwest, the audiences knew that George Kaplan plan was a fictional agent and his existence was just fiction but another character Thornhill had been searching for George Kaplan without any clue of his fictional existence.

Why it is used?

In many cases, dramatic irony is used intentionally when the audiences of the readers are given complete information which the actual characters do not have. Dramatic irony is used to create humour, tension, drama, emotion, suspense, etc. by informing the audiences and the readers about the real fact and keeping the characters unaware of the same. Dramatic irony is mainly used in a play, book, or films. The authors applied this technique intending to retain the involvement and engagement of the audiences throughout the entire story or movie. Dramatic irony is mainly used as a literacy technique where the outcomes are revealed to the audiences and the readers the authors or the moviemakers try to create some suspense or thrill in the audiences and the readers. Dramatic irony increases the focus and attention of the audiences and readers on the actual theme of the movie or a story and it keeps the audiences and the readers connected to the movie or a play or a story all through from the initial step till the end. In movies or television shows or stories, dramatic irony is mainly used to retain the attention and interests of the audiences and the readers. The readers and the audiences tent to wait for the expected outcome to take place. The characters of the works are kept unaware of the fact or event to create the suspense and to retain the same throughout the work. It also increases the attractiveness of the story or movie. The audiences generally desire to wait for the ending of a story or a movie which is the main intention of the authors or the filmmakers. Dramatic irony is a technique with the help of which the target audiences and readers are kept attentive towards the theme of the story by creating some humour, comedy, tension, suspense, horror, etc. It also develops mixed emotional feelings in the audiences and the readers with the help of which the story or movie becomes more close to heart. Students who wish to write an english assignment should go for Assignment help.

Use of Dramatic Irony in suspense

In one of the epic poems of the Odyssey by Homer, it has been of observed that when Odysseus returned home by disguising himself to test the faithfulness of his wife, Penelope the authors already know the fact. In suspense, the use of dramatic irony is commonly observed. In suspense, dramatic irony is mainly used because it helps in developing the desired tension and suspense which the authors of the literary works of the movies intend to generate. In several horror or thriller movies, the use of dramatic irony is commonly found. There are certain techniques for creating dramatic irony. In a more complex structure of work, multilayered narratives can be created where different characters would be provided with a different set of information. The audiences and readers will be having all the information but they will be watching the characters with different information. This type of dramatic irony increases intense suspense and tension in a story. By giving the audience and the readers more information than that of the lead characters, the authors or film-makers want to make the audiences or the readers to retain their suspense and expectations until the end. Dramatic irony is also used by considering the point of view of the major antagonist and overlooking the point of view of the positive character. This will provide the audiences of the readers and audiences a feel of the non-existence of the protagonists. It helps in creating suspense and dramatic irony.

Creating turning points in movies or stories by using dramatic irony

The turning points of the stories or movies can be built around some ironic statements made by the characters to focus on dramatic irony. For example, in the famous movie of Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg, the character of John Hammond has been observed to be repeatedly mentioning “spared no expense” while he was building the Park. The irony gets cleared when everything starts to fall apart. Therefore, it can be said that dramatic irony can be created in different ways depending on the storyline for the theme of the work. In creating unforgettable and compelling turning points in a movie or television show, dramatic irony can be considered as one of the most powerful tools to the authors and filmmakers. The filmmakers study the ways of creating turning points with the use of dramatic irony. It is an interesting fact to know that dramatic irony has been originally used in some of the Greek tragedies by the help of which the actions and words of the characters were made clear to the readers or audiences although the characters were unaware of the facts. Some actions and words intentionally used indicating opposite meaning than that of the literal one. The dramatic irony is mainly used to make work more interesting to the audiences and the readers. It helps in retaining the suspense and the movies or the stories get attractive. In most of the movies, the use of dramatic irony is found to have created turning points. Dramatic irony is mainly used by expressing the feeling of one character using some language or statements which carry opposite meanings and the audiences and readers are provided with all the facts and events. Turning points can be best created by the use of dramatic irony.