dramatic irony

noun

literature
: incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play : irony sense 2b
All the other doctors are knownothing quacks; that the audience has more medical knowledge than they is but one example of the dramatic irony which is a feature of Alan Bennett's brilliant script.Alan Geary

Examples of dramatic irony in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For older kids, Shaun is a font of humor, often playing on small-scale dramatic ironies and big broad payoffs — there’s a lot of generous slapstick, and the stakes stay pretty low. Vulture Editors, Vulture, 11 June 2024 When Joshua Harmon’s Prayer for the French Republic opened Off Broadway in 2022, there was already a steady drip of dramatic irony in the play. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 9 Jan. 2024 In this series, though, the humor is mostly in the vein of flat dramatic irony, using the past to make completely superficial observations about the present. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Sep. 2023 As Elizabeth Guffey, an art- and design-history professor at SUNY Purchase who specializes in retro-futurism, explained to me, a key element of the genre is dramatic irony, a sense of How quaint, how cute toward prior generations’ speculations about the future. Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic, 25 June 2020 What a fun, self-aware dose of dramatic irony! Vogue, 15 Apr. 2022 In a piece of tragically dramatic irony, after a lifetime of imposing his literary opinions on the world, Gilman was rendered unable to speak in his final years. Eve Fairbanks, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2023 Druckmann and co-showrunner Craig Mazin find a workaround by deploying dramatic irony, giving the viewer knowledge only one character possesses. Joshua St. Clair, Men's Health, 10 Feb. 2023 The notion of a doctor being unable to tend to his own maladies is such a fundamental form of dramatic irony, professional variations on it have existed throughout the history of storytelling. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 23 Jan. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dramatic irony.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1881, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dramatic irony was in 1881

Dictionary Entries Near dramatic irony

Cite this Entry

“Dramatic irony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dramatic%20irony. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

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