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In the Tell-Tale Heart, is there a quote with an example of verbal irony?

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cheer912 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted April 16, 2012 at 1:56 AM via web

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In the Tell-Tale Heart, is there a quote with an example of verbal irony?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2012 at 3:55 AM (Answer #1)

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Verbal irony occurs when the speaker's meaning is opposite from the actual meaning of the words. Since the entire story is told from the narrator's point of view, his version of the story as he recounts it could be considered 'verbal.'

For example, the narrator boasts about his kindness to his intended victim:

"I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him."

 

"And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone and inquiring how he had passed the night."

In the above quote, irony of the narrator's inquiry is doubly-creepy, because he knows exactly how the old man passed the night--he was in there watching him the entire time.  Again, verbal irony occurs as the narrator is praising himself to the reader for being pleasant to the old man when he is simultaneously plotting his victim's death.

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