What (dramatic) irony comes from “O gentle lady, / 'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak. / The repetition in a woman's ear / Would murder as it fell”?Not sure if it is actually dramatic...

What (dramatic) irony comes from “O gentle lady, / 'Tis not for you to hear what I can speak. / The repetition in a woman's ear / Would murder as it fell”?

Not sure if it is actually dramatic irony or not. It is said by Macduff to Lady Macbeth.

2 Answers | Add Yours

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

What is ironic about these lines is that Macduff is addressing the woman who has consistently shown herself to be cold, cruel, sadistic, remorseless, actually bloodthirsty. He assumes, because she is a woman, that she might actually die if he were to describe the horrible scene he has just witnessed in the murdered king's chamber. In actuality, Duncan might never have been murdered if she hadn't goaded her husband into doing it and had made some of the arrangements, such as drugging the king's attendants. This is dramatic irony indeed. (Irony, as  I understand it, is something that would be funny if it were not so painful or terrible.) Obviously, Macduff has no suspicion of Macbeth or Lady Macbeth at this point, although he will become very suspicious when he remembers Macbeth's strange behavior from the moment he encountered him upon entering the castle to wake the King. Macduff, like young Lennox, is the soul of loyalty and innocence and would find it hard to believe any of his peers could be so different. His naive innocence highlights Lady Macbeth's wickedness.

nszaniszlo's profile pic

nszaniszlo | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

thats not dramatic irony lol. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the other characters in the play/book does not know.

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question