Both of these poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poems employ situational irony, but they do so for opposite effects on the characterizations of their eponymous subjects. Situational irony is the surprising incongruity between what the readers and/or characters expect and what actually happens. Authors use situational irony in order to create shock and humor through a plot twist that reveals a contrast between appearance and reality.
In “Miniver Cheevy,” the title character is portrayed as a dreamer who mourns an idealized glorious past and longs for the grandeur of earlier times. By being “born of scorn,” he immediately earns the reader’s sympathy for his rough start in life. He longs for days of epic grandeur (“swords were bright”, “steeds were prancing, “warrior bold”), and we feel like he has missed his chance at chivalry and possible social elevation.
Seemingly erudite, Miniver alludes to heroic references like Thebes (famous Greek city of warriors), Camelot...
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