Irony of Situation
(From "Fields of Vision" by D. Delaney; "Методичні вказівки до семінарських та практичних занять зі стилістики англійської мови для студентів IV курсу",
Воробйова О.П., Іноземцева І.О.)
Irony can be defined as saying something while you really mean something
else. It is very common in everyday speech (for example, when we say "that was
a clever thing to do” meaning "that was very foolish”), and it is also widely
used in literature. The word ‘irony’ comes from the Greek word ‘eiron’, which means ‘dissembler’. In
fact the ironic speaker dissembles, i.e. hides his real intention.
In a narrow sense, irony is the use
of a word having a positive meaning to express a negative one. In a wider
sense, irony is an utterance which formally shows a positive or neutral
attitude of the speaker to the object of conversation but in fact expresses a
negative evaluation of it, e.g.
She was a gentle woman, and
this, of course, is a very fine thing to be; she was proud of it (in quite a
gentlewomanly way), and was in the habit of saying that gentlefolk were
gentlefolk, which, if you come to think of it, is a profound remark /W.S.Maugham/.
types of irony that occur most frequently are:
verbal irony, in which there is a contrast between what a character literary says
and what he means;
situational irony, which occurs when an event or situation turns out to be the reverse of
what is expected or appropriate;
dramatic irony, which occurs when the audience knows something that one or more of the
characters on stage do not know. Dramatic irony is often used to add humor or
suspense to a scene.