Dramatic irony is when the words and actions of a character in a piece of literature has a different meaning for the reader as opposed to the character. This stylistic device plays an important role in the play Macbeth through emphasizing deception, corruption and conspiracy.
This is apparent when the three haggard old witches enter the scene and offer the protagonist, Macbeth, life-altering prophecies. Although he does not realize it yet, Macbeth’s ambition is fed by the foretelling that he will become the Thane of Cawdor, and later, the King of Scotland. Ultimately, this leads to his downfall.
It is not only Macbeth that is influenced by the dramatic irony. Duncan’s fate is also influenced by his relationship with Macbeth. He is unknowingly making decisions which will lead to his death. When Duncan decides to spend the night at Macbeth’s castle, he feels that there is a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere. He drops his guard and is not on the lookout for danger but is in actual fact providing them with the ideal opportunity to kill him.
Dramatic Irony creates tension, which allows us to sense the events unfolding before our eyes.Opening scene of the play on the beach is a perfect example of dramatic irony. The witches reveal the terrible events that are to follow (the battle, the deception and the murders)When Macbeth meets the witches and we see his greed for the first time. This is one of the first situations related to irony. Macbeth is known as the all great loyal soldier and ends up getting advice from witches who have always been known for sinister, evil related aspects.
Dramatic irony encourages Macbeth on becoming a power hungry person. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth served the king. Yet, later he is the one that murders the king!
Lady Macbeth is kind at the beginning but turns evil. It is ironic that the king arrives at her castle to stay for the night thinking he’s in safety when in reality he’s in a lot of danger of Macbeth. She is the one that mainly influenced and convinced Macbeth to go on a murderous rampage. Though, she ended up committing suicide because she could not handle all the bloodshed. This is a perfect example of Dramatic Irony, it presents the the main plan of Lady Macbeth and ends up turning it against her.
Dramatic Irony is a vital component in Macbeth. It had a large influence in changing the mindset of the audience and also of the characters within the play. At certain points it could easily switch the mood and presentation of a certain scene. Whether its making a Macbeth type character believe he is doing something to benefit himself only to find out its the road towards his death, Dramatic Irony will always have a role to play during famous plays such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth.When doing a recap on how when Duncan thought he was safe when he was not, when lady Macbeth was so enticed with the idea of murder only to end up committing suicide due to the mental impact of killing another, without Dramatic Irony the play of Macbeth would not have been so intriguing and interesting as it was developed to be. This is why Dramatic Irony was important in creating an intense conclusion to the play.