The Most Dangerous Game: Dramatic & Verbal Irony

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  • 0:04 Different Types of Irony
  • 0:39 Verbal Irony
  • 1:28 Dramatic Irony
  • 2:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and experience teaching.

While the story may be suspenseful enough as it is, 'The Most Dangerous Game' uses different types of irony to create even more tension and suspense. See how in this lesson.

Different Types of Irony

While you may not expect to find much irony in a suspenseful work like The Most Dangerous Game, the fact is that there is plenty of it to be had. In fact, in many ways, the suspense is heightened by skillful use of dramatic irony, which is irony in which the reader knows something is about to happen and is waiting to see the reaction of the characters. However, a great deal of tone is set by the use of verbal irony, which is irony in which a character says something but means something else. In this lesson, we'll look at the role that each type of irony plays in heightening the drama of The Most Dangerous Game.

Verbal Irony

Let's start with verbal irony. First of all, there is incredible irony is the name of the book. The Most Dangerous Game could be taken to mean a number of different things, from the most dangerous sport or the most dangerous animal to be hunted. Additionally, as we find in the end, it does turn out to be the most dangerous game for General Zaroff.

Speaking of Zaroff, the idea that he is constantly talking about how cultured he is, and how he goes to great lengths to prove that culture, is particularly ironic. After all, he is taking part in an activity that the rest of the world finds totally barbaric, the hunting of other humans.

Finally, we see verbal irony at the end of the story, when Rainsford replies that he is a hunted animal at bay. In reality, he has become the hunter, awaiting for the perfect time when Zaroff is least expecting an attack.

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