The Irony in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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The Irony in Hamlet

In the book Hamlet by Shakespeare, irony is used numerous times in order to give the reader insight on what is going on. As stated in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, irony is an action that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. If this strategy were not included in this drama, it would take away the whole purpose. This play would consist of no suspense and would be extremely boring to the reader because the characters would know as much as the readers know. This allows for incite to what can happen in the future or what has happened in the past. The irony in this play ultimately revolves around Hamlet and his plan to achieve revenge with Claudius. From the play that Hamlet organizes about the death of his father to the ending where Fortinbras happened to be at the right place at the right time to take over the throne in Denmark; this paper examines the cases in where irony is used to show how Hamlet is preventing his murderer uncle from getting away with his fathers death.

Claudius and Hamlet exchange lots of verbal irony. There is two-facedness going on and its very ironic when they says one thing but mean another. For example, in act 1 scene 2 Claudius says “Through yet of Hamlet our dear brothers death… Together with remembrance of ourselves.” The king is mourning over the death of the former king. However this is ironic since he killed him only two months ago. Furthermore, in this scene Claudius asks hamlet “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” and Hamlet responds by saying “I am too much i’ the sun.” These play on words really mean he is much of a “son” and is suffering grief of his father’s death. Both Claudius and Gertrude are unaware of this pun leaving th...

... middle of paper ... are no longer any successors to the throne, and therefore he “claim my vantage doth invite me.” (Act 5, Scene 2, Line 412). He was at the right place at the right time. This situation is tragic because throughout the novel the irony makes Hamlet look like the protagonist. The reader wants him to succeed with the killing of Claudius and regaining his throne. But as everything occurs Hamlet was killed by the poisoned-tipped sword of Laertes and was not able to become King. It is tragic that things do not turn out as expected, leaving Fortinbras able to exploit the chance to crown himself as the King of Denmark.

The irony used in Hamlet is used to create suspense and character development of characters relationships. This can be seen through the animosity between Hamlet and Claudius’ relationship and eventually the rise of Fortinbras, the new king of Denmark.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how irony is used in the book hamlet by shakespeare to give the reader insight on what is going on.
  • Analyzes how claudius and hamlet exchange lots of verbal irony. the king mourns his father's death, which is ironic since he killed him only two months ago.
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