Irony is the figurative term for the disconnect between what appears to happen or what is apparently being said and the actual truth or reality.
There are three types of irony:
Situational Irony-where actions or events have the opposite result from what is expected or what is intended
Verbal Irony-where someone says the opposite of what they really mean or intend; sarcasm is a particularly biting form of verbal irony
Dramatic Irony-occurs when the audience or reader of a text knows something that the characters do not
Situational Irony Examples:
1. There are roaches infesting the office of a pest control service.
2. A plumber spends all day working on leaky faucets and comes home to find a pipe has burst in his home.
Verbal Irony Examples:
1. Looking at her son's messy room, Mom says, "Wow, you could win an award for cleanliness!"
2. On the way to school, the school bus gets a flat tire and the bus driver says, "Excellent! This day couldn't start off any better!"
Dramatic Irony Examples:
1. The audience knows that a killer is hiding in the closet, but the girl in the horror movie does not.
2. The reader knows that a storm is coming, but the children playing on the playground do not.
Examples of Irony in Literature:
1. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the audience/reader knows that Juliet has faked her death, but Romeo does not and he thinks she is really dead. (dramatic irony)
2. In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the main character Scout goes to school and is already able to read. While one would expect a teacher to be pleased about that, Scout's teacher does not like that she is already able to read. (situational irony)
3. In Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy says of Elizabeth Bennett that she is not "handsome enough to tempt me," but he falls in love with her in spite of himself. (verbal irony)
Literary Terms Examples for Kids
Macbeth Act I - Summary
The Odyssey Books 16-17 Summary
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