The term irony has been derived from a Greek word, which means concealing the real nature of the word or the truth behind it. There are three important types of irony - verbal irony, dramatic and situational irony. All the three tell the difference between things actually said, i.e. reality, and things misunderstood, i.e. depiction or appearance. In today’s time, the modern art is viewed to be ironic in many aspects. Consider this: An artist makes a portrait of a smiling lady. It is taken as Mona Lisa with various interpretations of the smile, even though the artist didn’t mean the same. The depiction or the fact is misinterpreted and is compared to something that existed a long time back. This is irony. In case you wish to know more about irony and its types as well as examples, read on.
Types of Irony
Unintended connection with the truth or depiction of a fact in some other sense, away from the truth, is verbal Irony. In verbal irony, what is said is not what is meant. There are two kinds of verbal irony, sarcasm and equivocation. In sarcasm, the speaker means the opposite of what he/she has said. In case of equivocation, irony arises because the speaker says something that is true and tries to enact as if he is unaware of the fact that he is saying the truth. It is basically used while commenting on a person.
In dramatic irony, the author, narrator or playwright reveals to the reader or the audience some information about a character’s situation, which the character is not aware of. It can be taken as a third speaker in a group. There is another form of irony as well, which comes under dramatic irony and that is tragic irony. In this category, words and actions contradict the real situation and are taken as a fact by the spectators.
Situational irony results when things don’t work out as planned, but go according to the situation, and the characters involved are unaware of the fact. It is divided in two categories: irony of fate and historical irony. When one amuses himself by a comment, it is referred to as irony of fate. In it, there’s a sharp contrast between reality and human ideals, or intentions or actual results. Putting up of a phrase in different way, but with the same meaning is referred to as historical irony. For instance, some people refer to Mahabharata as “Mahabharata”, while others call it as the “biggest conspiracy story of fight in Indian history”.
- A person compares the portrait of a standing, non-smiling woman with Mona Lisa, even though the painting does not resemble her.
- In her novel ‘Pride & Prejudice’, Jane Austen writes, “A universally acknowledged truth that a man, fulfilled with all fortune, is always in need of a Lady in his life”. However, as we read the novel, we come to know that what she means is that “a woman (or her mother) is always in search of a rich man”.
- Yet another example of irony can be seen when a person wins a million dollar lottery, but has a heart attack on hearing the news and dies.
- You get something for free and when it stops working, you go back to the shop and ask for your money back.
- You wake up in winters and realize that you are late for work. As you rush to take a bath, you realize that there is no hot water. Still, you manage to get ready and the moment you get in the car, the petrol tank reads empty.
- You are walking down the street and find a penny. However, you do not pick it up and move towards the bus stop. As you try to take the bus, you realize that you are missing a penny and you have to walk down.