January 8, 2012
The R.M.S. Titanic by Hanson W. Baldwin is a story using irony to immensely interest the reader. The author uses both dramatic and situational irony. Dramatic irony is when the reader knows something important that the characters do not know. Situational irony is when what happens is the opposite of what is expected to happen or should have happened. “The Titanic was unsinkable…” was a thought that ran through many people’s heads as they heard the news that it had been struck with an iceberg. They believed it couldn’t sink because the Titanic was so big and strong that nothing in the world could take it down. Whenever people today think of the Titanic, we think of how it sank and how many people lost their lives, which is an example of dramatic irony in itself. We know the devastating end of the Titanic, yet most of the people in this story did not. Another example of dramatic irony is that the band was playing throughout the story. This is dramatic irony because we know that the ship is going to sink. We know that the band players should be taking care of themselves before the White Star liner goes down rather than standing there playing music for the people walking by. Aside from dramatic irony, there is a great display of situational irony as well. The shock of the collision had been so slight that some were not awakened by it; the Titanic was so huge that she must be unsinkable; the night was too calm and beautiful to think of death at sea. A woman was quoted saying, “Save me, save me!” which is ironic because it’s obvious that only she can save herself at the point in time. Overall, irony was effectively used throughout Hanson’s story. Dramatic irony made it interesting because the reader knew something very significant that the characters did not. Situational irony caught the reader’s attention because the exact opposite of what was expected to happen happened.