What is an example of dramatic irony in act 2, scene 3, lines 100–112 of Macbeth?

An example of dramatic irony in lines 100–112 of act 2, scene 3 of Macbeth occurs when Donalbain asks what is wrong. The audience knows that Duncan has been murdered, while Donalbain is unaware of the current crisis. Another example of dramatic irony takes place when Malcolm asks who killed the king. The audience knows that Macbeth committed regicide, while Malcolm is unaware of his involvement.

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The dramatic irony of these lines lies in the juxtaposition of what is said by the characters in the scene and what the audience knows or can surmise from the action of the play up to this point.

At the beginning of act 2, scene 3, the audience know that Macbeth killed Duncan just a few minutes ago, and they're anxious to know what's going to happen now that Macduff, Lennox, and Ross have arrived to meet with Duncan. The anticipation level is high while the audience waits to see if Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are going to be discovered to have killed Duncan or if they can somehow get away with it.

Aside from that, there's something very odd about this scene with regard to Duncan's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain. At first, they seem strangely calm, even after having been awakened by a loudly clanging alarm bell and voices in the courtyard shouting "Murder and treason!"

When Malcolm and Donalbain amble into the courtyard half-awake, there's already a mass of agitated humanity assembled there, including Macduff,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 984 words.)

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