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  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:09 AM
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(An exploration into irony, it’s meaning, and   it’s consequences in Romeo and Juliet)

Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs; this is the definition of irony, but what really is it?   The answer, though not told in this essay, is definitely well explained through examples from William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.   This play is filled with paradoxical happenings that ultimately lead to the death of the hero and heroine.   Of them, we see circumstances dealing with verbal, dramatic, and situational irony.   To help with describing the definition better, we shall go into each of these types of ironies in turn.

First, let’s take a look at verbal irony.   Verbal irony is basically sarcasm, saying something that means something completely different.   We see it in R and J at the beginning when Romeo first meets Juliet and talks philosophically about pilgrims and praying.   We see it again when the nurse talks about Juliet’s age and marriage later on in the same act.   It both places, the speaking characters have an underlying meaning to what they really are saying, they are superb examples of verbal irony.

Next, we have dramatic irony.   Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something the character(s) do not.   This type of irony plays a crucial role in Romeo and Juliet because it is what, in the end, leads to the demise of our heroes.   We mainly see this in the end of the play when we learn of Juliet’s faked death and Romeo has not.   We also see it at the death of Tybalt who was completely unaware that he would set Romeo into a killing rage and lose his life to it.   These both are cases of dramatic irony.

Thirdly and probably most importantly, is situational irony.   This is when the story takes a completely different turn than expected by the readers and the characters.   I say this plays the most important role in the play because it is what brings us to the death of Romeo and Juliet...


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