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Verbal irony occurs when a character says one thing but means the opposite. It is sometimes joined with an ironic tone of voice and expressions. One example of verbal irony is when the antagonist in “The Most Dangerous Game” kidnaps and then hunts people. When he says, “We’ll visit my training school… It’s in the cellar. I have about a dozen pupils down there now,” he is not referring to pupils and a school, but to captives and a prison.
Verbal irony occurs when someone says one thing but means another, or the intention behind what is said is different from reality. For example, when General Zaroff mentions a new animal to hunt, he refers to it in the following way:
"I needed a new animal. I found one . . . it supplies me with the most exciting hunting in the world. Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits."
The above passage demonstrates verbal irony when Zaroff refers to the men that he hunts as animals or quarry. He also does not refer to his quarry as a "who," "him," or "them," but as an "it."
One example of situational irony is when Sanger Rainsford finds himself being hunted like an animal rather than hunting like the expert hunter he is. As an expert hunter himself, Rainsford never would have thought of being the one hunted. Furthermore, he discovers what it feels like to be "a beast at bay" when he suffers through three exhausting days and nights of being hunted.
After dinner, when Rainsford declines General Zaroff's invitation to visit the trophy room by stating that he is not feeling well. Zaroff comments, "You need a good, restful night's sleep. Tomorrow you'll feel like a new man...we'll hunt, eh? I've one rather promising prospect--"
Of course, later the reader realizes that Rainsford is the "prospect." But the verbal irony is that at the time Rainsford has no idea that he is going to be the "prospect," and, he will, indeed, "feel like a new man"--a hunted man.
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