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Dramatic Irony


Definition: Dramatic irony involves the reader (or audience) knowing something about what's happening in the plot, about which the character(s) have no knowledge. Dramatic irony can be used in comedies and tragedies, and it works to engage the reader, as one is drawn into what is happening. The audience may sympathize with the character, who does not know the true situation. Or, the reader may see the character as blind or ignorant (as with Oedipus). The clues may be rather obvious, but the character may be unwilling to recognize the truth.
Common Misspellings: drama irony, dramatic ironie, dramatic ironey
Oedipus is a good example of dramatic irony, as the audience knows that he is the one guilty of the crime he seeks to punish.

Shakespeare's Othello offers another example of dramatic irony, as he blames Desdemona for cuckolding him (even as the audience knows that he is being deceived by Iago).

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