Irony occurs when one thing is expected, but the opposite thing happens or turns out to be true.
When the audience knows or understands something that the characters in a story or on stage or screen do not, that is called dramatic irony.
It should be noted, too, that an event or outcome being ironic for one person or group does not preclude it being predictable for other people
Both irony and dramatic irony are much-loved devices for writers, but they do not only exist in literature and film.
In fact, one could argue that the reason writers use these techniques is because they know that these things happen in everyday life, and that people love it when they do. The profundity of natural irony, dramatic or otherwise, is like crack for writers, who are often keen observers of human nature and behaviour.
Irony is a powerful thing. It can evoke all sorts of responses, ranging from pity to laughter to judgement, depending on the perspective of each onlooker. It can bring about self-pity, humility or significant changes in attitude and behaviour for those who experience it.
When well executed by an author, irony creates plot twists and complications that add depth and complexity to a story, but which also make the experiences of the characters relatable and intriguing for readers.
When expertly executed by the universe, though, irony can blow one’s mind.
Without being political, it was ironic that Boris Johnson dismissed the potential threat of COVID-19, counted on the population developing herd immunity, and then got so sick with the virus that he ended up crediting the medical team who cared for him with saving his life.
Likewise, Trump denied the existence or threat of the virus and casually dismissed the illness and death of thousands of his own people. He refused to wear a mask or observe social distancing, he insisted on holding social events and campaign rallies against all medical advice. That he has tested positive and ended up in hospital with the virus is loaded with both types of irony.
Trump’s mockery of Hilary Clinton when she suffered pneumonia during her campaign in 2016 was not only a dreadful thing to do, it has also proven now to be deeply ironic.
There is little doubt that 45’s illness is a plot twist that he didn’t see coming.
One would hope that his treatment with highly experimental drugs that others with the illness haven’t had access to doesn’t end up doing more harm than good. That would also be ironic.
Personally, I find it impossible to feel sorry for him.
My empathy lies with all those Americans who suffered the disease and who lost loved ones to it while he proclaimed it as fake, and with all those who cannot afford the instant access to hospital care and fancy drugs that he can.
Irony, Dramatic Irony, and the Plot Twists of 2020Tweet
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