Ex 8 – Examples of Irony

There are three types of irony you have learnt. Give one example of each type of irony from the book to show your understanding of the use of ironies.

Clearly indicate the type and the example together as shown below:

Verbal irony:  When Mary entered the kitchen after returning from the grocery and remarked: “Patrick!” she called. “How are you darling?”. Mary knew that Patrick was dead, and yet treated him as if he were alive.

Others can comment whether the example has been rightly identified.

Just to recap. There are three types of irony. They are verbal, dramatic and situational.

Verbal irony is the contrast between what is said and what is meant. Most sarcastic comments are ironic. For example, when someone bungles in a quiz, and you say to that person, “You are really great!”.

Dramatic irony is the contrast between what the character thinks or says and what we (the reader, viewer, audience) know. For example, when Jack Noonan, the police detective in “Lamb to the Slaughter”, said, “Get the weapon, and you’ve got the man.” The reader knows which weapon was used in the murder of Patrick Maloney and who the killer was but not Jack. Therein lies the irony.

Situational irony is the contrast between what actually happens and what is expected. For example, when Mary cried hysterically on Jack Noonan’s arms as they arrived to investigate the murder of Patrick Maloney. Mary is expected to cry over the death of her husband who has just been murdered. She does cry but only because she wants to cover up her crime over the murder of her own husband (this is what actually happens).


15 Responses to “Ex 8 – Examples of Irony”

  1. Nurfarahin (24) Says:

    Verbal irony: “Patrick’s decided he’s tired and doesn’t want to eat out tonight,” she told him. “We usually go out Thursdays, you know, and now he’s caught me without any vegetables in the house.”
    This shows that Mary pretended that nothing had happened and she did not kill Patrick. She acted normal so that Sam would not be suspicious.

    Dramatic irony: So they left her there
    while they went about their business, searching the house. This shows that the policemen and detectives did know that their killer, Mary was right in front of them. They also did not know that the weapon was right under their noses but the reader knows all these.

    Situational irony: Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come home from work.
    This shows that Mary was waiting for Patrick to come home and life would go on as per normal and they had a heart-warming relationship. However, their life was not going on as per usual anymore as Patrick came home with bad news until Mary killed him.

  2. Tang Min Fay(29) Says:

    Verbal irony:”Patrick!”she called.”How are you, darling?”
    Mary knew that Patrick died and yet treated him as if he were alive.
    Dramatic irony:When Jack Noonan, the police detective said,”Get the weapon and you’ve got the man.”
    The reader knows that but not Jack, therefore lies the irony.
    Situational irony:Mary cried hysterically on Jack Noonan’s arms as they arrived to investigate the murder of Patrick Maloney.
    Mary is expected to cry over the death of her husband who has just been murdered. Yes, she does cry but for reasons best known to herself.

  3. Tho Nian Qin (33) Says:

    Verbal irony: ” Look, Mrs Maloney. You know that oven of yours is still on, and the meat still inside.” “Oh dear me!” she cried. “So it is!”
    Mary Maloney knows that the oven is still on, yet she acted as if she did not know that.

    Dramatic irony: ” That’s the hell of a big club the guy must’ve used to hit poor Patrick,” one of them was saying. “The doc says his skull was smashed all to pieces just like from a sledge-hammer.”
    The reader knows what the weapon is, but not the police in the story.

    Situational irony: Patrick thought that Mary would use the leg of lamb to cook supper but did not expect her to use it as a weapon to kill him.

  4. Loh Wei Qi (16) Says:

    Verbal Irony – “Is he dead?” She cried.

    Although Mary Maloney knew herself that Patrick was dead and gone, when the policemen arrived, she still asked them if he was dead, acting as if she did not know anything about it. It makes the reader excited to keep on reading and see if Mary would be successful in her convincing act.

    Dramatic – They were exceptionally nice to her, and Jack Noonan asked if she wouldn’t rather go to somewhere else, to her sister’s house perhaps, or to his own wife who would take care of her and put her up for the night.

    Jack Noonan was polite nice and gentle to Mary, and he acted as though she was very fragile, brittle and a poor soul to be sympathised with. However, he did not know that Mary was the one who killed Patrick. This makes the situation complicated and amusing, the reader will feel suspense to continue reading the story. It also makes the readers feel indigant to let the policemen know that they are actually talking and being nice to the murderer, but yet looking for the murderer.

    Situational – ‘So there it is,’ he added. ‘And I know it’s kind of a bad time to be telling you, but there simply wasn’t any other way. Of course I’ll give you money and see you’re looked after. But there needn’t really be any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn’t be very good for my job.’

    Patrick was bearing the bad news and telling Mary that she would be looked after. He thought that he would be able to get away with his wrong deeds and submissive Mary would never do anything even upon these kind of news. However, in the end, his very own meek and humble wife killed him with her own hands.

  5. Tifany Tay (34) Says:

    Verbal Irony-“Patrick!’’she called.”How are you, darling?”
    Mary Maloney already knew that her husband, Patrick, had been murdered with her own hands barely half an hour before but still feigned ignorance and pretended not to acknowledge that fact. Her sarcastic comment was simply just a part of her convincing act to throw the police off her trail.
    Dramatic irony: ” That’s the hell of a big club the guy must’ve used to hit poor Patrick,” one of them was saying. “The doc says his skull was smashed all to pieces just like from a sledge-hammer.” The murderess was sitting right before him at that very moment and the elusive weapon was sitting in the oven at the kitchen itself. The police officers were deluded into believing that Patrick had been killed by a blow delivered by a big club at the back of his head.
    They were oblivious to his shrewd and scheming wife and did not even consider her as a suspect after having taken Sam’s statement. However, the readers know that he was murdered by Mary, who on an impulse sent him to hell with a frozen leg of lamb instead.
    Situational irony: Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come home from work. This short and simple statement suggests nothing of the dark and ominous fate that loomed up ahead. The setting of the scene was an ordinary one; Mary, sitting down, quietly knitting. She is all alone in the house, waiting for her beloved husband to return home.
    The description of the room in which she sat certainly did not mention anything of the typical menacing aura which we have grown accustomed to, having watched or read about them in scary movies and horror stories. However, once one has gained enough experience, either in years or wisdom, one will be able to pinpoint the difference between real horror and made-up horror.
    Made-up horror is basically what most people are used to; haunted houses, evil zombies, vampires sucking the life out of you and all the other make-believe nonsense. Perhaps even the old-time novels; Frankenstein and Dracula, just to name a few. Real horror, on the other hand, is worlds apart from made-up horror. Creaking doors, gusts of wind blowing down your neck or windows slamming shut by unseen hands are never neccesary in real horror.
    Real horror, is turning the unexpected into the expected, making impossible possile and having your worst nightmares come true. One’s defination of horror is likely to be different from others’. For example, someone with a phobia of heights might feel that climbing a tree would be horrifying while others scoff the idea. In this case, one would never dream that the normal setting would become a crime scene for murder and the submissive wife would turn into a murderess.
    That was what made the entire story so hair-raising and unexpected. The bizarre twist in the roles of the different characters turned the situation around so that one could feel the immense irony in the supposedly typical story.

  6. Yeo Zi Xin (38) Says:

    Verbal Irony: “Patrick’s decided he’s tired and he doesn’t want to eat out tonight,” she told him.

    Mary Maloney knew Patrick was dead as she was the one who has killed him. However, she pretended that Patrick was alive and he wanted to eat.

    Dramatic Irony: Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him

    Mary was going to kill Patrick, and we know that. However, Patrick did not know the danger awaiting him, and thought Mary was going to return to her sit.

    Situational Irony: “Then how about the meat, Mrs Maloney?”

    Mary had actually killed Patrick with the frozen lamb, and going to the grocer was part of making the police not know she was the culprit. However, Sam thought that she really came and buy some ingredients to cook for Patrick.

  7. Amanda Yeo Yuan Qi (37) Says:

    Verbal irony: ”Patrick!’’she called.”How are you, darling?”
    Mary Maloney knew that her husband was already dead and that she was the one who killed him a while ago. Yet, she still acted as if nothing had happened. She did that so as to help her get into the mood so that acting in front of the police would not be necessary. Therefore, they would not really suspect that she was the true murderer.
    Dramatic irony: “Probably right under our very noses. What you think Jack?”
    The reader knows that the murder weapon was really right under the policeman’s nose but the policeman did not know and he was just saying that as a comment not knowing that what he said was actually true.
    Situational irony: And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle.
    The reader does not expect Mary Maloney to giggle after she killed her own husband because she was first descriped in the story as an overly-possessive over her husband kind of woman who really loved him a lot and was very kind and caring towards him. But at the end of the story, she actually laughed, making the reader now feel that she is an evil and sly woman. It really shocked me to see the great and sudden change in Mary Maloney.

    • Huang Says:

      Very good explanation, Tiffany.

      Your ability to point out the broad irony in the whole story was interesting and deserve commendation.

  8. Eunis(3) Says:

    Verbal irony:
    “Patrick’s decided he’s tired and dosen’t want to eat out tonight,”she told him.
    Mary lied to Sam, when she already knew what had happened to Patrick, to act as if everything was normal. What she had said to Sam was not what she really meant.

    Dramatic irony:
    “Personally, I think it’s right here on the premises.”
    We, as the readers , are placed in the position of knowing more than what the character knows. We had read the story, and know that the weapon(the lamb leg) is really on the premises, but the police in the story does not know that.

    Situational irony:
    “We usually go out on Thursdays, you know, … …”
    Thursdays are the days Mary do not cook, but on this particular Thursday, she baked a leg of lamb.

  9. Natasha You(18) Says:

    Verbal Irony: ‘Is he dead?’
    Mary Maloney knows best that Patrick is already dead but pretended that she does not know and that his death has nothing to do with her.
    Dramatic Irony: ‘I know that Patrick would never forgive me, God bless his soul…’
    The reason why Patrick will not forgive Mary is because she murdered him, not because of some trival matters which the police don’t know.
    Situational Irony: Patrick thought that Mary would use the leg of the lamb to make supper but instead she used it to kill him.

  10. Diana Goh (7) Says:

    Verbal irony- “Please,” she begged. “Please eat it…”

    Mary Maloney had begged the police officers to eat the leg of lamb which was the murder weapon so as to get rid of evidence.

    Situational irony- Mary Maloney had killed her husband and could act as if nothing had happened. She could still carry on with her as though the murder had never happened.

    Dramatic irony- Mary Maloney had used the leg of lamb to kill Patrick Maloney but the police officers did not know and had heartily eaten it up, “helping” Mary cover up for her crime even more.

  11. Rachel Lee (12) Says:

    Verbal irony: ‘Oh dear me! So it is.’

    Mary knew that the lamb leg was in the oven, yet pretended that she forgot. She acted flustered and distressed when she said that to gain more sympathy from the policeman.

    Dramatic irony: ‘…Why don’t you eat up that lamb that’s in the oven? It’ll be cooked just right about now.’

    The reader really wants to tell the police officers to not eat the lamb leg because it is the murder weapon and they are destroying the most important evidence.

    Dramatic irony: ‘Personally I think it’s right here on the premises.’ ‘Probably right under our very noses…’

    The reader really wants to tell the police officers that the weapon IS on the premises and that they are eating it right at that moment. To the reader, the police are very incompetent. They cannot tell what is right or wrong. Everyone is a suspect and anything could be the weapon at the crime scene. They also cannot just eat at the crime scene just because the victim’s wife says they can and are violating their code of conduct.

    Situational irony: ‘Quick! Come quick! Patrick’s dead!’… ‘I think so,’ she sobbed. ‘He’s lying on the floor and I think he’s dead.’

    Mary knew that Patrick was already dead, because she murdered him, yet she still said that she “thinks” he is dead. By lying to the police officers using the first line (the line where she was hysterical) and sobbing while briefly telling them that she thought he was dead, the police officers might have already believed her story because she reported it in such a fluster and in such a hurry, like she was really horrified and shocked about Patrick’s lying dead on the floor.

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