Film Study: Irony

Irony

  • The opposite of what is originally thought or expected occurs, and is characterized by an incongruity, or contrast, between reality (what is) and appearance (what seems to be).

Verbal Irony is an incongruity between what is said and what is meant.

  • The discordance of verbal irony may be deliberately created as a means of communication (as in art or rhetoric).
    • as soft as concrete
    • as clear as mud
    • as pleasant as a root canal
    • “as pleasant and relaxed as a coiled rattlesnake” (Kurt Vonnegut from Breakfast of Champions)

Dramatic Irony is an incongruity between what a character in a work of fiction believes to be true and what the audience knows to be true.

  • Dramatic irony communicated the importance of a particular truth by portraying a person who is strikingly unaware of it, emphasizing a perceived truth.

Situational Irony is an “incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal, [intended], or expected result.”

  • Descriptions or depictions of situational irony, whether in fiction or in non-fiction, serve the communicative function of sharpening or highlighting certain discordant features of reality.

Examples:

  • Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father.
  • The Titanic (the unsinkable ship) sinks.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Cup.
  • The police station gets robbed.
  • The fire station catches on fire and burns down.
  • It snows in the moths of June in Kitchener.
  • A lawyer is honest and will not charge a lot of money.
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