ENG 1D: Dramatic Irony and Subtext

Some things are best learned through conversation. So, let’s give this a try, shall we?

Mr. Pedrech: Today, we will learn about Dramatic Irony and Subtext.

Student Who Isn’t Listening: Sorry…what was that? I wasn’t listening.

Mr. Pedrech: Dramatic Irony and Subtext.

Student Who is Excited About Learning: Wow…that sounds exciting!

Mr. Pedrech: It sure is. Do you want to know more?

Student Who is Ambivalent: Meh.

Mr. Pedrech: Okay…so Dramatic Irony occurs when the audience knows something that the characters in the story don’t.

Observant Student #1: Like how the audience know that Romeo and Juliet are married, but their parents don’t?

Observant Student #2: Or, how we knew that Romeo killed Tybalt before it finally dawned on Juliet what the Nurse was trying to explain to her?

Mr. Pedrech: You’ve got it. You also see this a lot in horror movies. For example, the audience knows the killer is around the corner, but the victim doesn’t.

Student Who Likes to Track What Teachers Say: Mr. Pedrech, I’ve been keeping track of what you said. You mentioned a second term…what was it again?

Mr. Pedrech: Subtext. Subtext has several variations, but for our purpose, it is like the “hidden” dialogue in a narrative. It is what characters are really thinking, regardless of what they are actually saying.

Student Who is Secretly Bored Beyond Belief: Fascinating! So, like when a student pretends to be interested in what a teacher is saying, but is actually bored beyond belief?

Mr. Pedrech: Exactly! So today, let’s test our brand new boards, shall we? I want each group to read Act IV scenes i-iv. Don’t worry, they are quite short. On your boards, please write down examples of dramatic irony and subtext. I’ll leave some details on the board for you.




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