"It is interesting to contrast Empson's famous 'ambiguities' with New Criticism's 'paradox, 'irony' and 'ambivalence' (Eagleton 45).
After reading the chapter about "The Rise of English" I thought that we needed to be refreshed on what irony is.
According to Hamilton, "Irony is the broadest of figures of thought that depend on presenting a deliberate contrast between two levels of meaning...the major types of irony are verbal, structural, dramatic, tragic, and cosmic" (44).
An example of verbal irony:
Tom and his cousin Ashley were fighting. Tom said, "Ashley, your hair looks SO NICE." She knew that he was using sarcasm and quickly replied, with tears streaming down her cheek, "I knew I had a bad hair day, but did you have to emphasize the point." As a result of this discussion, they both went their own ways.
I think that this offers an example of verbal irony because Tom is expressing one meaning of Ashley's hair, but really means another.
If anyone has any examples of irony, please feel free to post them.
Click here for the web page devoted to Hamilton.