Irony definition essay

Essay by spiritladyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2005

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Understanding the True Meaning of Irony

The world is becoming more specific; therefore, the writing techniques are becoming more specific. Writers have a wide variety of literary tools such as allusion, metaphor, symbolism, and irony. Irony is the most common and efficient technique of the satirist. Since this technique is so popular and is being used in many different ways, people do not really understand the true meaning of the word. A clear understanding of the word irony, as it applies to literature, can be attained by an analysis of its formal, historical, and informal definitions.

The word irony can be understood by its formal definition. First, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word irony has two different denotations. The first one is, "A figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used; usually taking the form of sarcasm or ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply condemnation or contempt"(OED).

Furthermore, the OED states that the second denotation is, "An instance of this; an ironical utterance or expression." According to the OED the word irony has two connotations. The first connotation is "A condition of affairs or events of a character opposite to what was, or might naturally be, expected; a contradictory outcome of events as if in mockery of the promise and fitness of things"(OED). Another connotation of the word irony is the etymological sense which is, "Dissimulation, pretence; esp. in reference to the dissimulation of ignorance practiced by Socrates as a means of confuting an adversary"(OED). In addition, the word irony is an adoption of the Latin word ironia after the Greek word eipwveia, which means dissimulation, ignorance purposely affected. (OED)

The word irony can be also understood by its historical definition. To begin with,