Dramatic Irony In Romeo And Juliet

What is an example of dramatic irony from Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet?

Dramatic irony - irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play.

Where is an example of this from Act 2?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dramatic irony is when the reader or audience knows something the characters do not.  The main element of dramatic irony throughout the play is that we know that Romeo and Juliet are doomed, while of course the characters do not.

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;

Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

Doth, with their death, bury their parents’ strife. (Act I prologue, enotes etext pdf p. 8)

Due to this, we already know that the two will fall in love.  We also know that they are in danger.  When Juliet warns Romeo in Act II, Scene 2, he dismisses it.

Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye(75)

Than twenty of their swords! Look thou but sweet,

And I am proof against their enmity. (Act II, Scene 2, p. 40)

Of course, we do not know how they will be doomed.  We just know they are doomed.

The other dramatic irony in Act II is that in Scene 1 and 4, Mercutio and Benvolio think Romeo is still pining over Rosaline, but the audience knows he is over her and has moved on to Juliet.

In Act II, Scene 2, there is also dramatic irony when Juliet address Romeo thinking that he is not there, when in reality the audience knows he is there but she does not.

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?(35)
Deny thy father and refuse thy name!
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet. (p. 39)

In Act II, Scene 3, when Friar Lawrence realizes Romeo has not been to bed, he replies, “God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?”  (p. 45)  The audience knows that he is over Rosaline, and was out all night with Juliet, but not committing sin.

 To read the full text, click here: http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet-text

To read more about dramatic irony, click here: http://www.enotes.com/topic/Irony#Dramatic_irony

To read a summary of the play, click here: http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet/summary

Citation: Shakespeare, William. "Romeo and Juliet." Enotes.com. Enotes.com. Web. 14 May 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet-text>.