Sarcasm is very strong verbal irony. Remember, verbal irony is when someone says the opposite of what they really mean. When we use sarcasm, we say the opposite of what we really mean. The true meaning of the words is often given away by the tone of voice and facial expression. When we encounter sarcasm in writing, we can usually recognize it by the contrast between what is said and what is happening or the actions of the characters.
Your friend splashes mud on your new shoes, and you say, "That's great-I really needed a little brown to go on there."
You ask your mom if you are really grounded, and she says, "No, I am just pretending."
Your teacher says to the class, "Math is so fun!" and someone responds, "It's a real barrel of laughs."
Examples of Sarcasm in Literature
In Julius Caesar Mark Antony repeatedly refers to Brutus as an "honorable man," even though it is obvious that he does not believe it:
The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Jane Austen's novels often contain sarcasm, as she critiques the social conventions-and especially the role of women-in her time period:
The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; and to her treatment of the subject I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance...
Literary Terms Examples
Verbal Irony Examples
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