JORDAN ALLEN| IRONY IN MACBETH There are many types of irony used in Macbeth.. Without the irony, the tragedy would not be quite so tragic. Verbal, dramatic, and situational irony was used in the story of Macbeth. One type of irony used in Macbeth is verbal irony. This is when a character says one thing and means the opposite. Examples of this are when Macbeth says to Banquo, “Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir, And I’ll request your presence” or when he says “Fail not our feast”.
Verbal irony makes the play more tragic because, if the reader understands the irony of what a character is saying, then the reader can see the true nature and intentions of the character. Another irony in Macbeth is dramatic irony. This type of irony is when there is a contradiction between what characters of the play do, and what the reader knows will happen. In Macbeth, an example is the pleasantry with which Duncan, the King, speaks of Inverness. This pleasantry is a front, because little does Duncan know, but the plot to murder him is being hatched and will be carried out at Inverness.
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An excellent example of dramatic irony is found when King Duncan comes to Macbeth’s castle to stay for the night. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth treat Duncan with respect and affection, doing all that is within their power to make him comfortable under their roof. Duncan believes they are his dear friends and loyal subjects. He does not realize that he will not live through the night, but the audience knows that Macbeth and his wife will murder him in his sleep within a few hours. Situational irony is used during the play many times due to the predictions of the witches.
The witches predict one thing, which happens to come true. However, Macbeth often misinterprets their fortunes and are put in situations of irony. A good example for situational irony is Macbeth’s killing Duncan to gain the throne, thinking only of the power and wealth he will enjoy as the new King of Scotland. However, after murdering Duncan and being crowned, Macbeth cannot enjoy any part of his new position. Macbeth continues to murder in order to maintain power until he becomes a despised tyrant who is destroyed by his own people.
Another good example of situational irony is when Lady Macbeth takes part in Duncan’s murder with no hesitation or guilt. She berates Macbeth for being weak when his conscience bothers him about Duncan’s murder. She is cold and calculating. However, at the end of the play it is Lady Macbeth who is overwhelmed with guilt and eventually kills herself. William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” consisted of multiple types of irony as you can see. Dramatic, verbal, and situational irony all consisted in Macbeth. This essay was to inform you on the irony in the story “Macbeth”.