“X never, ever marks the spot.” – Indiana Jones in

“X never, ever marks the spot.” – Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade.

This line is from the beginning of the movie when Jones is teaching a class and talking about what archaeology is.  He says if you want facts, look to archaeology.  If you want truth, the Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.  He goes on to say that one of the things you learn as an archaeologist is that X never, ever marks the spot.  Which of course, later in the movie it does.  That is irony.

Irony in literature and movies, is an outcome that is contrary to what was expected, or set up prior in the work.  It is known as situational irony.  There are other types of irony, such as verbal and dramatic irony.

Verbal irony is saying the opposite of what you mean, such as “How nice,” when you mean “How terrible.”

Dramatic irony is the difference between what a character believes and what is actually true.  A movie that features funny dramatic irony is Dumb and Dumber.  Both characters spend the entire movie believing certain things about themselves, their actions and the actions of others.  Their beliefs are contrary to how the rest of the world sees them and their actions and what is really going on with the other characters.

A brilliant work of literature which features dramatic irony is The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time.  The novel is told in first person narrative from a boy who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.  His view of the world and the events that befall him are very different from reality.  The use of irony brings the reader the idea that some people do see the world very differently than others.

The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time illustrates why irony is important.  Irony is important to literature because…keep reading


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