Last week I attended the play “The Twelfth Night” performed at Loyola. It tells the story of a string of people and how they are all connected without even knowing it. The literary form of irony is present in “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby, and “Suburban” by John Ciardi as well.
“The Cask of Amontillado” is a story about two men who are trying to confirm the authenticity of a particular wine. However, the narrator has a trick up his sleeve and chains Fortunato in the basement and stacks bricks all around him. The irony involved here is that Fortunato was heavily intoxicated, but he wanted to test to Amontillado to find out how true the taste of this wine was. The narrator knows that he can take full advantage of him. Similarly, in “The Twelfth Night”, towards the end of the play there are two men that look like Sebastian and everyone is rather confused. Irony plays its role when Viola reveals herself disguised as Cesario. She used the fact that she was Sebastian’s identical twin sister to her advantage.
In the poem “Ode to American English”, the author begins by stating how she misses the American language while in England. Ironically, she does not just miss the language; she misses the entire American culture. The author uses the literary form of alliteration to capture the things she misses most. She states that England lacks a multicultural world and that America’s diversity is what most intrigued her. In “The Twelfth Night”, the audience knows more about the characters than they do about each other. This is in fact ironic because many secrets are revealed and withheld until the very end of the production. These works are similar because as she reveals her secrets of missing American from England, the characters are revealing information that is untold.
In the poem “Suburban”, a woman is complaining about how Ciardi’s dog defecated in her flowerbed. Although he is almost certain it was not his dog, he politely agrees to pick it up for her. This poem has humor and irony because Ciardi does the opposite of what the reader expects him to do. There is irony with the dog defecating because all living things do that. In “The Twelfth Night” Olivia falls in love with Cesario when she meets him as Orsino’s messanger. This has elements of humor and irony because Cesario is not who he appears to be. It is humorous because Olivia has no idea that Cesario is actually a woman, Viola. It is ironic because love is something one can’t help from falling into or feeling. The works are similar because of the same literary elements used and the surprisingly unexpectedness of events.
“The Twelfth Night”, “The Cask of Amontillado”, “Ode to American English”, and “Suburban” are all very different piece of literature, but they come together through one element, irony. Each work gave a different take on irony because no author writes the same as another and each work was written in a different time period. This fact shows how writing develops and how yet it stays the same because of the elements used. Irony is an element not only used in literature, but in everyday life as well. I believe that finding the irony in each piece made it easier to relate to and understand because of how common irony has become in today’s society.