Which Situation is the Best Example of Irony

Which Situation is the Best Example of Irony

ituational irony is a broad term with near-endless applications. At a fundamental level, every story has some aspect of situational irony – which means that information technology’s a fundamental component of storytelling. But what is situational irony? Nosotros’re going to define situational irony by looking at situational irony examples in film and Boob tube. By the end, you’ll understand how situational irony works – and how d you’ll be able to add intrigue and complexity to your storytelling.

Scout: The Ultimate Guide to Irony

Subscribe for more filmmaking videos like this.

What Does Situational Irony Mean?

Situational irony meaning explained

Situational irony is a very straight-forward concept – but it can be tricky to weave it into stories. Permit’s listen to educator Christopher Warner explain situational irony in his own words.

Situational Irony Definition  •  Situational Irony Defined

Warner says “a situation is only ironic if what happens is the exact contrary of what was expected.” But how do we know what to look? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. Many anthropologists would say archetypes and social conditioning play an important role in knowing what to expect. But mayhap the best way to remember of “knowing what to expect” is the maxim: y’all know it when you see it.

Below, we’ll run into this concept in action with some examples from picture show & Television but let’s begin with a quick situational irony definition.

Define Situational Irony

What is situational irony?

Situational irony
is when the reverse of what we expect to happen, happens. It can be as uncomplicated as bringing an umbrella outside only to find the sun shining. Or it tin can be every bit dramatic equally revealing the killer to be the least likely suspect. Information technology is the ultimate curveball to throw your audition — and, when done well, information technology can exist supremely satisfying. Who doesn’t dearest a shocking twist?

Subtypes of situational irony

  • Cosmic irony (Irony of Fate)
  • Poetic irony (Poetic justice)
  • Structural irony
  • Historical irony

For a complete guide to irony, download our Gratuitous ebook covering the types of irony, examples, and how writers wield it.

Gratis downloadable bonus

Gratuitous Download

Ultimate Guide to Irony

Irony is an essential literary device that all writers should main.
Download our FREE e-book to make it-depth explanations and examples on topics like the major types and sub-types of irony, and the myriad of ways writers can apply it to enrich their storytelling.


What is Irony - Irony Explained - StudioBinder Ebook

Situational Irony Definition Literature

What is situational irony in literature?

Situational irony has played an of import role in literature and stage plays for hundreds of years. Here are a few situational irony examples in literature:

  • In
    The Story of an Hour, Louise is told her husband is dead. But despite the morbid circumstance, and the fact Luise had no sick will towards her husband, she feels an overwhelming sense of joy. But when her husband returns alive, she suffers a center attack and dies. This is an case of situational irony because it’s the opposite of what we’d wait from a grieving widow.
  • In
    American Psycho, Patrick Bateman confesses to committing a serial of murders – simply is laughed off. This is an example of situational irony considering we expect he’s going to be punished for his crimes simply he isn’t.
  • In
    Macbeth, the title character murders the king equally a ways to an end. Merely Macbeth presently finds out that he has to keep killing in order to protect his throne. This is an case of situational irony because the situation was meant to put an end to Macbeth’s killings, but in reality, it only exacerbated them.
Popular:   The Special Investigation Into the Whitewater Real Estate Scandal

Not every example of situational irony is as grandiose as these are. Nearly situational irony examples are subtle. Let’s dive into some more situational irony examples in film and Television set to find out.

Situational Irony Synonyms and Antonyms

Situational vs. dramatic irony

In movies and tv set, we need situational irony to keep things unexpected and interesting. Information technology would be extremely dull if everything always turned out how we expected. That’s not how real life works and it’s not how fictional entertainment works either.

One of the biggest questions involves the difference between dramatic and situational irony. In this section, we’ll gear up the record direct. Dramatic and situational irony both involve the difference between
reality. The element that makes them dissimilar is

With situational irony, nosotros learn at the same time equally the characters that our expectations were different than reality. With dramatic irony, we know in accelerate that the graphic symbol’s expectations are not the reality of the situation. And that creates tension.

Nosotros’ll cover dramatic irony in more detail in a different post.

Let’s movement onto some situational irony examples that will help empathize this concept even further. As yous’ll see, there are many ways to apply this form of irony — for humor, suspense, or drama.

What is Situational Irony Used For?

Use situational irony for suspense

Let’s jump into a quick instance of situational irony from one of David Fincher’s best movies:
Zodiac. In this example, we look something sinister to happen. Just when information technology doesn’t, our expectations are upset. Nosotros imported the
screenplay into StudioBinder’s screenwriting software to accept a closer look at the scene in question.

What is Situational Irony?  •  Situational Irony in the Zodiac Script

Here, we wait Vaughn to kill Graysmith. Why? Ii reasons: one, considering Vaughn – in the eyes of Graysmith – all just confirms he’s implicated in the Zodiac killings; and two: we’re bombarded with horror tropes. So when Vaughn doesn’t kill Graysmith, we’re shocked. This shock, or failure to encounter expectations, is the reason why nosotros consider the moment an example of situational irony. If you’ve never seen the scene before, check out the clip beneath. Information technology’s one of the all-time bully suspense scenes in all of cinema.

Situational Irony Examples  •  Zodiac

If you lot want to use situational irony in your ain works, consider what Fincher did; take a mutual trope and subvert information technology in a situational way.

How to Use Situational Irony for Laughs

Add situational irony for sense of humour

If you’ve seen the game show
The Price is Right, you know that its long-fourth dimension host, Bob Barker, had one of the sweetest and kindness personas.

And so, it made sense that when he popped up in Adam Sandler’s
Happy Gilmore, we expected him to act similar that same character. Instead, we got Barker throwing punches and profanities — completely hilarious, and completely unexpected.

Popular:   The Most Common Listening Problem is

Situational Irony Examples  •  Happy Gilmore

Situational irony is a peachy tool for upsetting grapheme expectations. For example: if nosotros think a character is stupid, but they prove to be smart, and then we can say situational irony has been deployed. Consequently, if a character simply affirms their archetypal qualities, so we can say they aren’t well-rounded – and that no situational irony has been deployed.

Perhaps my favorite example of situational irony can be plant in
This is Spinal Tap
when a sure prop arrives to the set smaller than expected. If you haven’t seen Spinal Tap’south Stonehenge scene, check it out below.

Situational Irony Definition  •  This is Spinal Tap

Here, the members of Spinal Tap are shocked to find that their prop is tinier than expected – merely hey, that’south what happens when you don’t distinguish inches from feet.

Situational Irony Defined in Drama

Utilise situational irony for drama

The Night Knight, the Joker kidnaps District Chaser Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne’s on-and-off-again girlfriend Rachel. When The Joker gives Batman their locations, we believe he’s forcing Batman to choose between love (Rachel) and logic (Paring).


Let’south dive into
The Dark Knight
screenplay to see who Batman chooses to salve. As yous’re reading, pay shut attention to how screenwriters Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, and David S. Goyer subvert expectations with the state of affairs.

What is Situational Irony?  •  Situational Irony in The Dark Knight

And he is, just not exactly how we expect…he switched their addresses so Batman ends up saving Harvey instead of Rachel. A savage use of situational irony, indeed.

In the next section, we’ll ascertain the diverse permutations of situational irony then you tin can see how intricate and nuanced this concept is.

Catholic Irony Definition

How to employ cosmic irony

Cosmic irony is just one subtype of situational irony – and information technology’s defined by the inclusion of a supernatural twist. We nevertheless have a situation in which reality and expectation are different only at that place is an additional element — a “college power” is involved.

This higher power could be God, the Universe, fate, or even aliens. Cosmic irony is besides known equally “irony of fate,” which might help give yous an idea of how it all works.

Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, the title character falls off of a tall edifice, but is rescued by an conflicting ship. Check out the scene below.

Cosmic Irony Definition  •  The Life of Brian

Here, the Pythons largely satirized cosmic irony. Many instances of cosmic irony devolve into deus ex machina, aka a hopeless state of affairs that’s resolved in a contrived fashion – but this case succeeds due to its employ of satire. In that location is a lot more to explore with cosmic irony, including examples from movies and TV.

Larn more about cosmic irony →

Define Situational Irony Subtypes

How to utilise poetic irony

Poetic irony (a.1000.a poetic justice) is another subtype of situational irony – and it just might be the nigh satisfying for the audition. Poetic irony occurs when a law-breaking or transgression is unexpectedly resolved positively, often due to a ‘twist of fate.’

The Killing, the heist of a equus caballus racetrack is perfectly planned and executed. In the end, karma visits Johnny Clay when he is mere minutes away from escape. While waiting for the plane, a dog runs onto the tarmac and the commuter of the baggage cart swerves. Johnny’s suitcase falls and $two million in cash gets sent flying in every direction.

Popular:   Anorexics Are Unlike Bulimics in That They __________

Situational Irony Examples  •  Poetic Irony in The Killing

In that location is a lot more than to explore with poetic irony, including examples from movies and Tv. Check out our commodity on poetic irony beneath.

Learn more about poetic irony →

Define Situational Irony Subtypes

How to use Structural irony

Structural irony is a subtype of situational irony – and it can accept two very dissimilar effects whether information technology’s used in comedy or drama. Structural irony occurs when the perspective of an unreliable narrator or naive protagonist is different from the reality of the situation.

In some cases, the unreliable narrator may simply exist lying to the audience; or they may take convinced themselves of a faulty truth. Either fashion, when the entire story is congenital around this ignorance or deception, you get structural irony.


Perhaps no movie gives us a narrator more conspicuously unreliable than
Fight Club. Permit’s bank check out the
Fight Club
screenplay to see where the narrator learns he’due south been living a lie.

Situational Irony is Exposed in Fight Gild

In this scene, the narrator realizes he’south Tyler Durden. Everything upwards to this point has been warped through the lens of an unreliable narrator. As such, we can say
Fight Gild
is an example of structural irony. If you desire to review the scene from the flick, yous can watch it below.

Situational Irony Examples  •  Fight Lodge Clip

If y’all want to use structural irony in your own screenplay, consider using an unreliable narrator similar Tyler Durden from
Fight Club. There is a lot more to explore with structural irony, including examples from movies and TV.

Learn more well-nigh structural irony →

Define Situational Irony Subtypes

Historical irony

Historical irony is our final subtype of situational irony. As the proper name suggests, it has more to do with bodily history than fiction but can notwithstanding be used for deep and profound reasons in your storytelling.

Historical irony occurs when hindsight provides an ironic perspective on an action or opinion made in the past. Hindsight is twenty/xx, right?

At the end of
The Social Network
script, Mark Zuckerberg finds himself alone, reaching out to someone he one time had a connection with — perhaps the only person he e’er had a chance of connecting to. The metaphor and use of historical irony in this scene is exquisitely executed.

What is Situational Irony?  •  Situational Irony in The Social Network

Historical irony is a useful tool for wrapping upward the major and minor themes of a movie. There’southward a lot more to explore with historical irony, including examples from movies and Television receiver in our side by side article.

Acquire more than about historical irony →


Dive deeper into irony

We’ve covered the basics of situational irony but at that place is and then much more to learn. If at that place is a particular form of irony you desire to explore further, only follow the navigation beneath. Each one of these subtypes of irony belongs in every writer’s toolkit.

Which Situation is the Best Example of Irony

Source: https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-situational-irony-definition-examples/