There are three types.
Verbal irony is the use of words to mean something different from what a person actually says.
The main feature of verbal irony that sets it apart from the other different types of irony is that it is used by a speaker intentionally. It occurs in a conversation where a person aims to be understood as meaning something different to what his or her words literally mean.
“Thanks for the speeding ticket, officer! You just made my day!”
“I can’t wait to read the seven hundred page report.”
The above examples show how irony is used to show someone’s frustration or disappointment. There are two types of verbal irony:Overstatement – when a person exaggerates the character of something.Understatement – when a person undermines the character of something.
This type of irony is popular in works of art such as movies, books, poems and plays. It occurs when the audience is aware of something that the characters in the story are not aware of. An example of dramatic irony is in a movie where a detective does not know that the criminal responsible for the crimes in the city is his partner. The audience however is already aware of this fact and waits anxiously to know what will happen once the character finds out what they already know. There are three stages of dramatic irony:
Installation – audience is informed of something the character does
not know about
Exploitation – using this information to develop curiosity among the audience
Resolution – what happens when the character finally finds out what is going on?
A special category of dramatic irony is tragic irony. Tragic irony occurs when a character in a play does or says something that communicates a meaning unknown to her but recognized by the audience. An example of tragic irony is when a character orders poisoned food that is supposed to kill him or her and the audience already knows that the character is destined to die from food poisoning. Tragic irony was common in plays that depicted the lives of legends in ancient Greece. The audience already knew the fate of the characters before they watched the play.
It involves a discrepancy between what is expected to happen and what actually happens. Situational irony occurs when the exact opposite of what is meant to happen, happens. An example would be when someone buys a gun to protect himself, but the same gun is used by another individual to injure him. One would expect that the gun would keep him safe, but it has actually caused him injury. For situational irony to occur there has to be something that leads a person to think that a particular event or situation is unlikely happen.
There are three types.