Irony of Macbeth, and Antigone
Verbal- when character lies to themselves or someone else Situational- find them in a situation they did not want to be in Dramatic- reader knows something the character doesn’t LADY MACBETH These deeds must not be thought after these ways; so, it will make us mad. 1. Act 1 Scene 4, line 50; the witches hail Macbeth, “thane of Cawdor! ” dramatic irony: At this point, Macbeth is unaware that the king has conferred this honor upon him because of his valor in battle, so he attributes his fortune to the witches’ prophecy.
However, the audience knows Duncan made the pronouncement in Act 1, Scene 3. (David Schlachter) Purpose: This dramatic irony is to show Macbeth’s belief that the witches speak the truth and are responsible for his success. This belief does, influence his future actions. 2. Act 1, Scene 6, line 1, Duncan says, “This castle hath a pleasant seat” Dramatic irony: When Duncan reaches the castle, he feels safe and welcome at the home of his loyal friends. However, the audience is aware that he may be killed that very night.
It is also ironic that he calls the castle “a pleasant seat”, when it’s the place where he is eventually murdered. Purpose: This irony is to add to suspense. Since the audience knows more than the character, the audience is positioned to wait for the character to gain awareness. 3. Act III, Scene ii, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth were discussing their feelings about being king and queen of Scotland after the murder. Said Lady Macbeth, “Nought’s had, all’s spent. Where our desire is not without content: ’Tis safer to be that which we destroy than, by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy. 4. Act III, Scene I Macbeth said of the witches and the murder, “For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered; put rancours in the vessel of my peace only for them; and mine eternal jewel given to the common enemy of man. ” Purpose: In those sentences, we can see the irony in the witches’ prophecies. The implied meaning of the witches’ prophecies was that Macbeth would be king. Macbeth took this to mean that he would be a happy king, and so dreams of him on the throne appeared. He thought that becoming king would be easy; he just had to get Duncan out of the way.
Everything turned out as Macbeth had imagined, except that he was not happy as the king. The guilt from Duncan’s murder, not to mention that of Banquo’s, made being the king a horrible experience for Macbeth, all because of the witches. This irony would make the audience mistrust the witches in the back of their minds, and therefore also put a vague fear over the whole play, because of the realization of the witches’ relentless sinister determination to disrupt peace and order in Scotland. 5.
In Act V, Scene I, Lady Macbeth had a fear of the dark and she had started sleep walking and talking to herself. As she was wandering the castle one night, she was obsessed with trying to wash the blood that she still felt and smelt from her hands, a huge change from Act II, Scene ii. She said, “Out, damned stop! Out I say! ” And continued with, “What, will these hands ne’er be clean? ” This is definitely very ironic, since early in the play Lady Macbeth dismissed Macbeth’s concerns with little thought, and one would expect her not to ever think of them again.
Antigone 1. A very simple piece of verbal irony is Antigone’s calling Creon “the worthy Creon” in the prologue, when she clearly means the opposite. 2. A bit of dramatic irony that may slip by unnoticed in some translations: When Creon hears that Polyneices has been buried and demands, “Who has done this? ” he uses the masculine form of the Greek pronoun for “who. ” Some translations emphasize the gender by having him say “What man has done this? Of course, as we know and he soon learns, the culprit wasn’t a man. 3. It could be situational irony that, as Teiresias points out, Creon has imprisoned a living person and left a dead one unburied. 4. It could also be situational irony that when Creon accepts the chorus’s advice to free Antigone and bury Polyneices, he does this in reverse order, perhaps hoping to give Antigone a pleasant surprise when he lets her out but instead leaving her alone in the tomb so long that she loses hope and commits suicide. 5.
It is dramatic irony that when Creon returns from the tomb with the bodies of Antigone and Haemon, he says that he has suffered all the tragedy he can but then learns of the suicide of his wife. Sources: http://shakespeare. mit. edu/macbeth/full. html Jeremy Hylton, The Tragedy of Macbeth http://www. davidschlachter. com/writings/macirony. php David Schlachter, Irony in Macbeth http://answers. yahoo. com/question/index? qid=20090705112619AAKxyRZ http://wiki. answers. com/Q/What_is_an_exa… http://www. pinkmonkey. com/booknotes/monk… http://www. omdix. com/pdf/docs/essay_essa…