In both stories, dramatic irony adds absurd conversations involving mistaken identities to create a type of humor which the audience understands. William Shakespeare’s As You Like It uses dramatic irony when Phebe is flirting with Ganymede, “Sweet youth, I pray you chide a year together; I had rather hear you chide than this man woo.” (3.5.64-65). However, the audience knows that Ganymede is Rosalind. Phebe is admiring who she thinks is a male, which creates dramatic irony. She acts irrationally through trying to prove that she is in love, and through disregarding Silvius, who is also a part of the conversation. This conversation, caused by dramatic irony, is humorous for the reader. Similarly, in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Cecily and Gwendolen argue about their engagement with Ernest. Cecily and Gwendolen were both discussing their love lives, however, Gwendolen, not knowing the situation, politely stated: “My Darling Cecily, I think there must be some slight error. Mr. Ernest Worthing is engaged to me.” (Wilde, 335). In this line, Gwendolen uses a harsh tone and is completely unforgiving of the situation. The reader finds this funny because Gwendolen could easily be a more rational person because as an...
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...use Algernon and Jack are not Ernest. However, Gwendolen mentioned that she could not marry a Jack, even though, in the end when the character finally knows of the circumstances, she finds Jack appealing. Through the use of dramatic irony, the reader views these love connections as comedic because of his or her knowledge of information of great importance to the storyline.
Both stories use dramatic irony to portray characters in an unreasonable light. Through conversations which involve mistaken identity, foolishness in behaviour, and false love connections, dramatic irony has created a new type of awkwardness and humor in both stories. Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare both use dramatic irony in their story to add more comedy to their plays, The Importance of Being Earnest and As You Like It. Humor can be produced in many ways; the dramatic irony is only one.
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