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?


In act 2 of Romeo and Juliet, there is dramatic irony in the fact that Romeo tries to console Juliet and tell her that their love is in no danger: “Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye / Than twenty of their swords! Look thou but sweet, / And I am proof against their enmity” (2.2). Thanks to the Prologue, the audience already knows that the young lovers are doomed. There is also dramatic irony in the fact that many characters think Romeo is still pining over Rosaline, when in fact he’s completely moved on to Juliet.

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Shakespeare loves dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is when the audience is aware of something the characters in they play are not.

In act 2, Benvolio and Mercutio do not initially know what we as audience members do: that Romeo has fallen in love with Juliet. In scene 4, they rib Romeo about Rosaline, who is now ancient history as far as Romeo is concerned. We remember that his good friends were not on hand when we witnessed the balcony scene.

Dramatic irony occurs as Juliet anxiously asks the Nurse about wedding plans. As audience members, we already know that Friar Laurence will marry the couple, but Shakespeare has the Nurse drag out telling Juliet to the point that she is almost ready to jump out of her skin.

Finally, the friar warns Romeo that love that burns too passionately is destructive. Since we realize from the Prologue that this romance will end badly, we know the truth in the friar's words in a way Romeo cannot. Romeo's lack of moderation will later lead him to commit suicide before thinking through what is going on.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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...

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