Types of Irony: Everything You Need To Know

Did you know that there are three types of irony? Here, we will define irony in all of its forms. Irony may be a great storytelling tool for writing a short story, novel, drama, or screenplay. It would be best if you distinguished between several sorts of irony and how they work to evoke laughter, suspense, and mystery in the readers and audiences. Then, all you have to do is apply what you have learned to your upcoming script.

Irony Explained — 3 Types of Irony Every Storyteller Should Know (Verbal, Situational, and Dramatic)

What is Irony?

The irony is a literary device where reality differs from our expectations. This inconsistency might be seen in scripts – what we say vs. what we mean or in situations – what we expect vs. what happens.

Definition of Irony

Why is Irony Used?

When “what appears to be” differs from “what is,” irony emerges. The irony is a powerful storytelling tactic because of the difference between expectation and reality. Irony adds to the conflict’s complexity and richness. Your story now has a depth that it may not have had previously. Writers use conflict to tell stories, while irony improves stories.

Purpose of Irony

What is Irony in Literature?

In storytelling, irony is essential. When something we expect does not happen, it causes conflict. It builds tension when we know the truth about a dangerous situation and sees someone else go close to it. Complexity arises when someone says one thing but means another.

Conflict, suspense, and complexity are essential components of a good story. You do not need to be an ironic specialist to be an excellent storyteller. However, it is pretty beneficial. Before we go into the different types of irony, let’s define them.

Irony in Literature

Irony can be depressing and tragic or amusing and satirical. There are countless ways to use irony in your storytelling.

Three Types of Irony

Dramatic, verbal, and situational irony are the 3 types of irony. Each has its definition and function in the world of storytelling.

What is Dramatic Irony?

Dramatic irony is when we know more about the circumstances than the character.

For instance, Neo and his gang are betrayed by one of their own in The Matrix. Of course, we would have been horrified if we had discovered this at the betrayal. Instead, we have a lovely, juicy piece of dramatic irony because we learn about it before any other characters.

What is Dramatic Irony

With dramatic irony, we question why the truth is revealed to the viewers before the characters do. Isn’t it astonishing that Cypher would betray his people? We would be as perplexed and worried as Neo and the others.

Naturally, this is a personal choice: which method is better for the story? But there is a case for why dramatic irony works best in this situation. When you get a dramatic character shift like this, it can feel “unearned,” as if it came out of nowhere to shock or surprise you. This way, it does not feel like a “cheat” because we know what Cypher’s plans are ahead of time.

The Matrix Cyphered Betrayal 4K

What is Verbal Irony?

When someone says one thing yet means the exact opposite, this is known as verbal irony.

What is verbal irony? – Christopher Warner

Bender is known for his sarcasm in The Breakfast Club. He is always coming up with quips, insults, jokes, mocking, and verbal irony. Consider this scene when debating why he is not more interested in extracurricular activities. His phrase, “Oh, my god! You ritchies are so smart; that is why I do not do a lot of things! “is an excellent example of linguistic irony. We pick up on his irony primarily through his delivery and performance, making it clear that he isn’t saying what he means.

The Breakfast Club (2/8) Movie CLIP – Social Clubs (1985) HD

There are four types of Verbal Irony:

  • Understatement
  • Sarcasm
  • Overstatement
  • Socratic Irony

What is Situational Irony?

When we anticipate something specific but are at the receiving of the exact opposite, we call it situational irony.

Situational irony: The opposite of what you think – Christopher Warner

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a fantastic example of situational irony. When Sarah Connor tries to break out of a mental prison, she runs into the same Terminator who wanted to kill her in the previous film. The irony is that the Terminator is there to defend her this time. 

Come with me if you want to live | Terminator 2 [Remastered]

Difference Between Irony and Coincidence

The concept of irony vs. coincidence is one of the things that people get confused about. As you can see, a coincidence is when something unexpected happens in one or more situations. Contrarily, irony refers to a series of unique events producing the opposite of what is seen or heard.

That’s NOT ironic, it’s a coincidence!

Difference Between Sarcasm and Verbal Irony

The linguistic irony is often combined with sarcasm, and people frequently misuse “ironic.” While sarcasm can be one of the aspects of verbal irony, it is not the only type of sarcasm.

Someone sarcastic is stating something that they do not mean. Of course, it is usually the opposite of what they mean, but it merely has to be a false assertion. When someone expresses the exact opposite of what they mean or what is happening, it is verbal irony.

Sarcasm is typically arrogant and cutting, but linguistic irony uses a variety of situations in a witty manner.

Irony vs Sarcasm – What’s the difference?

More Examples of Irony In Films

1. The Lion King (1994) – Mufasa’s Death

Simba skulks around Savannah for the entirety of the film, believing that he is the primary cause of Mufasa’s death. Although in truth, Scar, who nurtures him, is the one who killed Mufasa.

The Lion King – Simba Finds Mufasa

2. Hercules(1997) – The Scene With the Magic Potion

Another instance of dramatic irony occurs when Hercules does not drink the entire magical potion, although the audience and his sidekicks are aware of this. Hades then underestimate him, allowing Hercules to triumph.

Baby Hercules is turned mortal

3. Finding Nemo(2003) – Multitudes of Fish

The characters in Finding Nemo finely demonstrate the film’s irony. The highly unfunny clownfish, the carnivorous shark support club, and one of the funniest, the pelican becoming friends with the fish, are included.

Situational Irony “Finding Nemo”

4. Monster’s Inc (2001) – Who Is Scared of Whom?

The movie’s entire narrative is incredibly ironic. Monster’s Inc. is a monster-run corporation whose goal is to scare children, though they are the ones who are continuously afraid of children.

Monsters Inc.- introduction scene Hd

5. The Incredibles(2004) – Mr. Incredible Gets Sued!

There are a lot of them in this film: Mr. Incredible is sued for saving a person who was about to commit suicide.

The Incredibles Mr.Incredible Sued Scene

6. Cars (2006) – Pride and Prejudice

Sally and McQueen are in love, yet they insult each other to their faces, one of the most brilliant moments in Disney irony.

Cars (2006) – ‘McQueen and Sally’ scene [1080p]

7. Beauty and The Beast (1991) – The Undeserving Deserving One

In the film, Gaston wants to marry Belle, but she claims she does not deserve him. In truth, the audience understands that he is the one who is unworthy of her.

Ending Scene of Beauty and the Beast (1991)

8. Mulan (1998) – The Identity Crisis

Mulan is an underappreciated Disney classic and a great lesson in tragic irony. The audience is aware that Mulan is a woman, but the rest of the military men are unaware.

Mulan – A Life For A Life (with English subs)

9. Frozen (2013) – The True Frozen Heart

Anna is the only character in Frozen who does not have a symbolic frozen heart, as she never hides her actual emotions and is honest. She does, however, have the “frozen heart” of which the opening song warns the listeners.

Frozen – Frozen Heart HD

10. Sleeping Beauty (1959) – Marriage Plans

When Prince Phillip meets Briar Rose, he falls in love with her but cannot marry her since his father will not allow him to marry a commoner. On the other hand, the audience already knows that Briar Rose is a princess; therefore, we know they can.

An Unusual Prince/Once Upon a Dream (From “Sleeping Beauty”)


The occurrence of two opposed ideas is known as irony. It is a technique in filmmaking that can help improve your film by adding new layers of depth, suspense, or humor. The irony is one of those concepts that you intuitively understand when you see or hear it on screen, and the challenge lies in explaining it in layman’s words. So get on your heels and take your scripts to the next level by employing irony efficiently!

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