What Are Examples of Irony in “The Crucible?”

Examples of the types of irony found in the play, “The Crucible,” include situational, dramatic and verbal irony. Specific examples include Proctor’s recitation of the Ten Commandments, the forced confessions of witchcraft and the names of several characters in the play.

In his recitation of the Ten Commandments of the Bible, John Proctor forgets “adultery.” This is ironic since he committed the sin of adultery with Abigail. By forcing the accused to confess to witchcraft, the Puritan judges in the play forced them to commit a sin by lying. One example of an ironic name is the merciless Mercy Lawless.

Situational irony occurs when there is a contrast between something that is not expected to happen but that is happening. Dramatic irony happens between the reader or audience and the character when the reader or viewer knows more about the situation than does the character. Several examples of dramatic irony are found throughout all acts of the play. Verbal irony takes place when someone says one thing but means another. This is also sometimes referred to as sarcasm.

Arthur Miller based the play, “The Crucible,” on historical facts about the Salem witch trials, though he fictionalized many aspects of the story.