Irony is defined as the contrast between what is obvious and what seems to be.
Basically the surface meaning of what is said, done or happens/happened is not the same thing as the underlying meaning of what is said. There are different types of irony that one may come across on a daily basis.
In fact various types of irony can be found in literature and in real life experiences as well. Usually people do not really understand what irony is or they are unable to spot any of the many types of irony but sarcastic and witty people are good at pinpointing irony.
One of the many types of irony is verbal irony.
The person stating the irony or using certain words to describe a situation is intentionally doing so. A statement with verbal irony shows how a person really feels about a situation and allows him to express himself and though it is subtle, verbal irony is often quite harsh and is believed to go hand in hand with sarcasm. What the person says is not what he actually means- in the negative sense. So if a person is actually sad but claims he isn’t, that will not be verbal irony but if a person states, “I’m as happy as people are at a funeral’, you would be able to spot the irony in his statement.
Then, there is dramatic irony where the role of the characters and the kind of image they portray before one another and what is known to the audience is incongruent.
This could be seen in certain horror movies where everyone in the movies believes one of the main characters is the murderer but the audience knows that the actual killer is someone who may not seem to be all that important in the movie.
The most common of all types of irony is situational irony where one would expect a certain outcome but then, due to circumstances something else may happen instead.
By way of example, a student who is very well-prepared for his final exams and has gotten great results in class fails the exam despite his expectations would be experiencing a situational irony- he expected to pass the exam with flying colors but he didn’t expect to fail in the least bit and that is where the irony lies and can be found. He expected one thing but didn’t think the other would happen at all. Another example of this sort of irony can be found in foreign policy- several countries speak against the use of weapons and the development of nuclear weaponry, yet they produce such weaponry and use it as well.
Regardless of which types of irony we may come across anywhere, there is a reason that someone once said, “Irony is cruel’. This is because of the simple reason that even though one may be expecting a positive outcome, he never even thought that the opposite, the unfortunate one, event would result at all.