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Dramatic Irony Romeo Juliet Essays

The Usage Of Dramatic Irony In Romeo And Juliet

There are many instances in which William Shakespeare shapes our modern works of art and literature, doing so by remaining the most spoken playwright of his century. Besides his many privileges, he had used some literary elements that have great discussion in the present day, such as his usage of irony, foreshadowing, unconscious hypocrisy and other literary elements. They are used today as well, but in the past centuries, the combination of those elements was the technique which was the most appealing to the audience, the one, actually, used by Shakespeare. One of those elements is dramatic irony, which is based on the contrast of reality and misconception. In dramatic irony this contrast depends on the difference between what the character believes and what the audience knows to be true. The usage of dramatic irony, combined with other literary elements, builds suspense, tension, and concern for the characters in the play - one thing that the playwright or a writer desires to achieve.

Dramatic irony is a plot device usually used when writing tragedies such as in a play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. In Romeo and Juliet tragedy, Shakespeare used this element to intensify the play. He had done so successfully, because by the effect, it is one of the most famous plays in our history. Presumably, Shakespeare uses other characters to mention some information to let the reader wonder what the other character that doesn't have that information will do. For example, when Romeo hears about Juliet's death he doesn't...

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The Dramatic Effectiveness and Significance of Act 3, Scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet

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William Shakespeare's Use of Dramatic Devices in Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet

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Dramatic Effects in Act 3 Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Dramatic irony is when the reader or audience knows something the characters do not.  The main element of dramatic irony throughout the play is that we know that Romeo and Juliet are doomed, while of course the characters do not.

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;

Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

Doth, with their death, bury their parents’ strife. (Act I prologue, enotes etext pdf p. 8)

Due to this, we already know that...

Dramatic irony is when the reader or audience knows something the characters do not.  The main element of dramatic irony throughout the play is that we know that Romeo and Juliet are doomed, while of course the characters do not.

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;

Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

Doth, with their death, bury their parents’ strife. (Act I prologue, enotes etext pdf p. 8)

Due to this, we already know that the two will fall in love.  We also know that they are in danger.  When Juliet warns Romeo in Act II, Scene 2, he dismisses it.

Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye(75)

Than twenty of their swords! Look thou but sweet,

And I am proof against their enmity. (Act II, Scene 2, p. 40)

Of course, we do not know how they will be doomed.  We just know they are doomed.

The other dramatic irony in Act II is that in Scene 1 and 4, Mercutio and Benvolio think Romeo is still pining over Rosaline, but the audience knows he is over her and has moved on to Juliet.

In Act II, Scene 2, there is also dramatic irony when Juliet address Romeo thinking that he is not there, when in reality the audience knows he is there but she does not.

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?(35)
Deny thy father and refuse thy name!
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet. (p. 39)

In Act II, Scene 3, when Friar Lawrence realizes Romeo has not been to bed, he replies, “God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?”  (p. 45)  The audience knows that he is over Rosaline, and was out all night with Juliet, but not committing sin.

 To read the full text, click here: http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet-text

To read more about dramatic irony, click here: http://www.enotes.com/topic/Irony#Dramatic_irony

To read a summary of the play, click here: http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet/summary

Citation: Shakespeare, William. "Romeo and Juliet." Enotes.com. Enotes.com. Web. 14 May 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet-text>.