Dramatic irony usually refers to a situation in a play wherein a character’s knowledge is limited, and he or she encounters something of greater significance than he or she knows. Throughout the play, most of the dramatic irony displayed is between Nora and Helmer, with Helmer being the character whose knowledge is limited. Dramatic irony is a device commonly and frequently used by playwrights. Irony arises from a contrast between appearance and reality between what seems to be the case or the situation or the meaning and what really is the case or the situation or the meaning. Irony may be employed by a speaker. A speaker is consciously ironical when he makes a remark conveying the exact opposite of its surface meaning.
For instance, when Nora at one point A Doll’s House says to Helmer that, in whatever he does, he is always right, she is consciously ironical. She does not really mean to say that Helmer is always right in what he does. In fact she means just the opposite. Helmer, of course, does perceive the irony in her remark; he takes her remark literally and feels happy in the belief that she has paid him a compliment. But we perceive irony, and feel amused because actually she means to say that Helmer is seldom right in what he does. Irony is unconsciously employed when we say something without knowing or realizing that the opposite of what he has said will prove to be the case. In such a case of the use of irony, we become aware of irony only afterwards when the opposite of what was said actually takes place. It is only on the second reading that we become aware of such cases of irony. Thus we may say that irony arises from a contrast between hat a character ay and hat he really mean to convey, between hat a character believe and what he knows to be actually the case, between hat a character think he will do or achieve and hat he really in the long run doe or achieve. Irony may produce a comic effect or a tragic effect,
Bibliography: A Doll’s House by Ramjilal, Educational Publications. www.google.com A Seminar Paper On DRAMATIC IRONY IN ‘A DOLLS HOUSE’ In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in English AMITY INSTITUTE OF ENGLISH STUDIES AND RESEARCH AMITY UNIVERSITY UTTAR PRADESH