Macbeth is the tragic tale of the rise and fall of a powerful but flawed man. Shakespeare wrote four main tragedies and out of the four Macbeth is considered the most tragic. Shakespeare is most famous for his plays but his love for writing stemmed from him writing poems; especially sonnets. Irony is used widely throughout Macbeth. Irony is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think. Dramatic, verbal, and situational ironies are very prevalent throughout the play.
Situational irony is when the writer shows discrepancy between the expected results of some action or situations and its actual results. A dying Sergeant while talking with King Duncan says, “Till he unseamed him from the nave to the chaps, and fixed his head upon our battlements” (Shakespeare). The Sergeant is talking about Macbeth killing the traitor Macdonwald and walking in with his head. At the end of the play Macduff walks in holding Macbeth’s head and says, “Hail King! For so thou art. Behold where stands the usurpers cursed head. The time is free” (Shakespeare). This is an example of situational irony because Macbeth was a valiant war hero and due to his outstanding achievements was crowned king after the murder of Duncan. However, he died a traitors death because of his actions. Macbeth walked in carrying Macdonwald’s head and then at the end of the play Macduff walks in carrying Macbeth’s head. This irony also represents the theme of human nature. All people are tempted by something and for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth that something was power. Macbeth had been the main reason Scotland won the war against Norway. He killed the leader of the rebel forces. But because of a prophecy that stated Macbeth would be king, he became very power hungry. His thirst for power resulted in an unquenchable appetite for murder and he goes so far as to murder anyone who poses a threat to him being king. The prophecy was very misleading. It doesn’t say when he will be king or what he will be king of but the thought of having power went to his head. Dramatic irony is when a reader or audience member perceives or knows something a character in the story or play does not know. After Macbeth proved to be an excellent warrior, Duncan stayed at the Macbeth’s castle. When Duncan enters the castle he begins to compliment the appearance, he says, “……….” (pg 191). This is dramatic irony because the audience knew of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s plan to murder Duncan while he slept. Duncan was complimenting the castle not knowing that he would be murdered that night by one of his most trusted men. This example represents the theme