Dramatic irony arises from a circumstance in which an audience member knows something about a character or situation in a play that a character doesn't know.
A person unfamiliar with the ancient Greek Oedipus myth as dramatized in Sophocles's Oedipus Rex would experience far fewer examples of dramatic irony in the play than a person who is already familiar with the myths surrounding Oedipus.
An audience member watching a performance of Oedipus Rex at the Festival of Dionysus in 429 BC was already familiar with the Oedipus myth. They heard the myth repeated time and time again from a young age, and they knew the myth of Oedipus and the characters involved in the story as well as a modern audience member knows any fairy tale or superhero adventure story.
The playgoer in 429 BC knew before the play begins that Oedipus killed his father, Laius, and married his mother, Jocasta . They knew that Oedipus saved Thebes from the Sphinx. They knew the names of Oedipus and Jocasta's four children. They may have...
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