Irony is a literary technique that we often use in our day-to-day lives, especially when it comes to passing a sarcastic remark to someone we don't like. An irony definition states that a statement is ironic when it has two meanings.
To be more specific, there is a difference between what the statement means and what the speaker wants to convey. In other words the statement has a double meaning that is actually uncovering the truth.
Irony examples are also described as witty remarks, often have hidden meanings that one can understand after reading the statement. One can say that irony is a form of satire, wherein witty remarks are directed at someone with the intention of offending him.
When a person says that the water is as pure and transparent as the mud, what he wants to signal is the degree of impurity in the water. Looking at the statement , one can say that the person has seen sewage water or is asked to make a humorous remark on the clarity of drinking water.
Let's take another example. A tennis player makes a comment; I couldn't win the match, thanks to the correct decisions of the referee. The statements clearly indicates that the tennis player was not at all satisfied with the decisions made by the referee. Indirectly, the player is blaming the referee for his loss.
Types of Irony
A statement is said to be a verbal irony, when it is said to reveal something else that is not related to literal meaning of the statement. In other words, the statement is said in a different way to emphasize the reality. Here is an example: The boy is so intelligent that he failed in all the subjects
If you notice the statement, the person is trying to suggest how dull the boy is. But the speaker says it in a different manner, to illustrate the level of dumbness, the child possesses.
Consider another example: The task is as simple as performing a brain tumor surgery. Now, we all know, brain surgery is a complicated task and by no means easy. But, still the speaker, uses the word 'simple' to describe a brain surgery in order to indicate the difficulty in performing the task.
A dramatic irony is a situation often found in Hollywood movies and plays by William Shakespeare. It is a situation in which the audience watching it, has some knowledge about the future events that may happen in the situation.
However, the character in the situation does not know about the unforeseen events that he has to face. In, other words, the audience can correctly predict certain future circumstances of the character.
For instance, in many movies the protagonist chalks out a plan to kill the villain. Although the villain is unaware, the audience watching the film, clearly know, how the villain will be murdered by the protagonist.
This type of irony is explained as a situation wherein the actual outcome is found to be far from expected result. As the reader starts reading a story, he predicts the end of the story, but after completely reading the story, he is surprised to know a different end (outcome), which wasn't expected.
Here is a story that will explain what is situational irony. Have you heard the story of David and Goliath?. No one expected David to win the fight against Goliath. This is because Goliath was a giant, well-built and had a height of more than 9 feet. On the other hand, David was a teenager 5 - 5.5 inches tall.
It was his unique strategy of using the sling by which he hit the stone on Goliath's forehead, so hard that he fell down dead. Surely as a reader, we did not expect this outcome. We thought that the poor boy was a fool to challenge Goliath and was destined to die.
Thus, one can see that the expected result of the story was completely different from outcome of the story. This is known as situational irony, wherein the unexpected happens in the end and the audience or the reader is baffled to know it.
As you study more examples of irony, you will find this part of speech is quite interesting. In fact, if you read poems by famous poets such as Alfred Austin, you will find that they are full of ironic statements, so as to convey the message in a better way.