How does dramatic irony contribute to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet?

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kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In William Shakespeare's dramatic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, dramatic irony plays a significant role in the events that lead to the play's tragic conclusion. 

Dramatic Irony is a literary device used by authors to create a situation in which the audience is aware of certain events or effects, but the characters themselves are unaware of it. As a result, characters make certain choices that the audience knows are misinformed, often with adverse effects. 

The most notable moment of dramatic irony in Shakespeare's play is when the false nature of Juliet's "death" is not effectively communicated to Romeo. As a result, Romeo reacts to the news of her death as if it were a real event, thereby leading to their actual deaths at the conclusion of the play.