What is Dramatic Irony?
-Dramatic Irony is when the words and actions of the characters in a work of literature are known to the audience or reader, but they are not known to certain characters in the story. The reader or audience has a greater knowledge of many of the characters themselves. -Shakespeare employs dramatic irony in many of his tragedies, so that the audience is engaged, and so they are able to witness characters errors in their action, predict the fate of the characters, and experience feelings of tragedy and grief. Examples of Dramatic Irony in Hamlet
Act 1, Scene 5
• Ghost of Old Hamlet talks to Hamlet and explains to him how his death occurred. • Ghost reveals that he was not actually killed by snakebite, as Claudius announced to the people of Denmark. • Ghost tells of how Claudius snuck into his garden while he was taking a nap. • Claudius poured poison in Old Hamlet`s ear, killing him, and sending his soul, unpurified, into the afterlife. • The audience knows the truth about Old Hamlet`s death, however, all of the characters in the play, apart from Hamlet, believe that Old Hamlet`s death was a tragic accident. • The reason that Claudius killed his brother is so that he could marry and sleep with Old Hamlet`s wife, who is Queen Gertrude. Importance
• The dramatic irony of this scene is effective because it allows the audience to feel sympathetic for Hamlet because he is faced with the impossible decision of whether or not to kill his uncle who is King Claudius. • This scene of dramatic irony creates the main plot of the play which is the attempt at revenge. • It creates the moral struggle that Hamlet is faced with throughout the play, whether he should murder the king for revenge or not.
Act 3, Scene 3
• King Claudius feels guilty for murdering his brother in order to marry Gertrude and become king of Denmark. • However, Claudius cannot play because his offence is so horrible that he knows that God...