The Use of Verbal, Situational, and Dramatic Irony in Romeo and Juliet

In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses verbal, situational, and dramatic irony to add to the reader’s enjoyment. Shakespeare used irony a lot through the play adding more humor, suspense, shock, and makes the viewers want more. Romeo and Juliet is a perfect play to watch because not only is it a tragedy, it also is very humorous and is so memorable that the plot line is still being used today.

Verbal irony is when the words literally state the opposite of its true meaning. This is used throughout the play to make people laugh or surprise them when it goes in a complete different direction. An example of this is in the beginning of the play in the prologue “Two households, both alike in dignity” (Prologue.1). After this line you think that the two families are very dignified and honorable. However as the play goes on you figure out that the families are very violent, competitive, and hate one another’s guts.

To conclude, verbal irony adds humor and makes the viewers want to stay and watch more. Situational irony is when the events or situation turns out to go the complete opposite of what you would have expected. The whole play is basically one big example of situational irony, in the last scene of act five in the lines 92-184 was completely unexpected if the viewer had not have listened to the prologue. Romeo and Juliet still get to be together for forever and eternity, just in a completely different way.

This adds a whole lot of shock and surprise at the end of the play, and makes it a whole lot more memorable, so memorable that it still impacts literature today. To sum up, situational irony plays a huge role in this here and adds to the memorability to Romeo and Juliet. Dramatic irony is when events or facts are not known to the characters, but are known to the viewers, readers, and sometimes the other characters adding to the suspense and making it more intense.

And examples of this starts at line 54 in act four scene one when she shows Friar Lawrence this knife and they make a plan for her to take the 24 hour sleeping potion so that they can hold a fake memorial so that Romeo and Juliet can be together for the rest of their life. But since Romeo doesn’t know about this and does not receive the message for the plan he kills himself, then when Juliet finds him dead she kills herself. If Romeo were to know about this the play would have a different ending and they both would have lived.

This affects the readers much since they know about Juliet’s plan, causing them to feel sad, and possibly wish that they would have been able to live together happily ever after. In conclusion, dramatic irony serves as another important role in the play because otherwise they play would have ended ona completely different note and Romeo and Juliet probably wouldn’t be able to spend eternity together. As you can see, Shakespeare used several types of irony, some include verbal, situational, and dramatic.

Verbal irony is used to add humor and make the viewers want to stay for more. Situational irony was used to add shock and sometimes to surprise the audience. Dramatic irony is used to make scenes more intense, and so that the readers what to watch more and see how it turns out. Therefore Shakespeare used different types of irony to make Romeo and Juliet more entertaining for the readers.

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