Irony in Act Three

Topics: Irony, William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, Sarcasm Pages: 3 (825 words) Published: February 1, 2008
Richard III Irony, as defined by Perrine?s Literature, is ?a situation or a use of language involving some kind of incongruity or discrepancy? (1709). Irony can be broken down to three types; verbal, dramatic, and situational. In Shakespeare?s Richard III, all types of irony are found throughout the play. Irony can be humorous, sarcastic, and sometimes quite complicated as it is used to ?convey a truth about human experience by exposing some incongruity of a character?s behavior or a society?s traditions? (337).

Verbal irony is often the easiest to see and understand as it is ?a figure of speech in which the speaker says the opposite of what he or she intends to say? (337). Verbal irony is often seen as sarcasm. In Richard III, verbal irony is quite abundant in Act Three with Lord Hastings. In Act Three, Scene Two, Lord Hastings is approached by a messenger or Lord Stanley, who has been sent to warn Hastings of a dream in which a boar (Richard) ?had razed off his helm? (147) or, cut off his head. Hastings, still believing Richard is his friend and ally, disregards the message and even laughs at how Lord Stanley reacted to a dream. Later, in this same scene, Hastings is told of Richards intent to bid for the crown by Sir Catesby. Hastings, not wanting to see Richard crowned king, unknowingly seals his own fate by saying ?I?ll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders/ Before I?ll see the crown so foul misplaced? (149).

Shortly after this, Lord Stanley himself appears after he is told of Hastings disregard of his warnings. As Hastings is celebrating with Catesby the knowledge that the Queens brother Rivers and her son Lord Grey are being taken to the Tower of London for their beheading, Stanley again warns Hastings that this may soon be his fate as well. Of course Hastings will not hear of this and tries to comfort Lord Stanley by telling him ?My lord, I hold my life as dear as you do yours,/And never in my days, I do protest,/ Was it so precious to me as...
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