IRONY IN THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO
AND THE TELL-TALE HEART
BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
This investigation is based on analyzing the use of irony in two of Poe’s selected short stories, in order to offer a different perspective about irony and show how important irony is for creating a required atmosphere in his short stories.
Most of the writers are the product of their times,and Poe is not the exception. He was clearly influenced by the Romanticism, literature movement present in that time. Although Poe's variety of Romanticism was related to his contemporaries, most of his works often bordered on what was later called the gothic genre. This style of fiction was characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violence incidents.Poe’s best stories have only the essentials, the minimum of characterization, plot, and atmosphere. By ridding himself of everything except what is precisely to the point, he achieves this unity of effect. He was interested in the strange experiences of individuals rather than in the individuals themselves. Poe is best known for the chilling mood and macabre atmosphere he builds so carefullyin his stories.
One element of relevance found in most of Poe’s literary works, is the way he makes use of irony. Edgar Allan Poe has the ability to blend irony with these Gothic elements to provide such an extraordinary atmosphere in order to catch the reader’s attention and lead him to surprising finales.
Irony in texts has become the hallmark of good taste in the realm ofthe literary, the dramatic and the aesthetic. We associate irony easily with humor, but we recognize, too, that irony can be bitter and even tragic. As a tool in the hands of a skilled writer, like Poe, irony corrodes and undermines pretensions, unmasks appearances, deconstructs, and it is always a reflection of the paradoxical and contradictory character of reality. Because of this significance, aswell as its importance in modern art and literature and, more latterly, in the intellectual sciences and in culture generally, Poe deserves to be carefully examined.
We can define irony as a form of speech in which the original meaning is concealed or contradicted by the words used. Irony involves the perception that things are not what they are said to be or what they seem. Thedifference between what is said and what is meant, what is said and what is done, what is expected or intended and what happens, what is meant or said and what others understand. In other words, irony is the use of words in such a way that true intention is concealed with literal intention. More clearly, irony is when you say one thing but mean another. Moreover, irony depends upon the audience's beingable to recognize that a comment is deliberately at odds with its occasion, and may often discriminate between two kinds of audience: one, which recognizes the irony, and the other, which fails to do so.
H. W. Fowler (2000) defines irony as: “…a form of utterance that postulates a double audience, consisting of one party that hearing shall hear and shall not understand, and another partythat, when more is meant than meets the ear, is a ware, both of that "more" and of the outsider's incomprehension”.
Irony uses words to point beyond language. Irony shows that there are some truths, which though they cannot be articulated in words, can nonetheless be expressed by means of words. Irony, like many other figures, is a way of transcending and ultimately extending thelimited resources of everyday language, of ensuring that it does not disguise thought but is both the midwife and the medium of thought. Not everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly, but everything that can be thought at all can be put into words.
Irony can take different forms according to the use the writer makes of it. Although, most authors agree in some basic types...
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