What is romantic irony?


Quick Answer

Romantic irony is a literary device in which the narrator of a story initially acts as though it is based in reality but ultimately divulges that he is fabricating the story as he goes along, according to Wright State University. Byron uses romantic irony in his "Don Juan."

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Full Answer

Romantic irony falls under the umbrella term of irony. Irony is a literary device in which the actual meaning of words differs from the intended meaning. Irony also encompasses situations in which the outcome of a situation surprisingly defies what the reader expects to happen, according to Literary Devices. Writers and poets such as Byron use romantic irony to explore the relationship between the mind and nature, according to Roxanne Eberle, associate professor of English at the University of Georgia.

Romantic irony is sometimes seen as a way of perceiving the world that encompasses change. Others see romantic irony as an exploration of exercising deity-like powers and participating in godlike activity. For example, Byron's narrator in "Don Juan" weaves a narrative that in the beginning to appears to be a true story, but he reveals that he was inspired by the characters in a puppet show. Romantic irony evokes complex questions about the relationship between order and chaos.

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