Irony is a literary device that occurs when there is a discrepancy [difference between two things] between what is expected to happen and what actually happens. It is often used to create humor or emphasize a point. Irony can be verbal (saying the opposite of what is meant), situational (when the outcome is the opposite of what is expected), or dramatic (when the audience knows something that the characters do not).
- Verbal irony: "What a beautiful day!" said sarcastically during a rainstorm. [Saying the opposite of what is meant]
- Situational irony: A fire station burns down. (The opposite of what is expected, since a fire station is supposed to stop fires)
- Dramatic irony: In a horror movie, the audience knows the killer is hiding in the closet, but the character opens it unaware. (The audience knows something the character doesn’t)
Very Simple Definition:
Irony is when something happens that is different from what you would expect. It can make things funny or show something important.
There are several types of irony. If someone says the opposite of what they mean (for example, "What a beautiful day!" said sarcastically during a rainstorm), this is called verbal irony.
There is also situational irony, where the opposite of what you expect to happen ends up happening (For example, a fire station, which is supposed to stop fires, burns down).
And there’s dramatic irony, where the characters in a movie or play do the opposite of what the audience know they should, because they do not know the same things as the audience (for example, the audience knows the killer is hiding in the closet, but the character opens it unaware).