by Serena Chibi
I just wrote this for class and I'm turning it into my professor. Just looking for input:)
|By: Ashley Raynow (SerenaChibi)
A Silent Scream
Irony is something that can be seen throughout many aspects of life. It is something that we don’t usually recognize until all is said-and-done. Poets enjoy using it from time to time, writers seem to have mastered it and artists have captured it; irony is a technique that all enjoy using.
The poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson tells what people thought of Richard and of his death. Hidden within this poem are major examples of irony. In the poem, people idolize and practically worship Richard Cory as something greater than they are, as something perfect. How the people idolize Richard Cory is easily seen in “In fine, we thought he was everything” (11) and “He was a gentleman from sole to crown / Clean favored and imperially slim” (3 & 4). In the end, Richard Cory is proven to be nothing more than a man to them, as his death has no significance or affect on the people. The insignificance of his death can be seen in the simple transition into the line of his death,”And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, / Went home and put a bullet through his head” (15 & 16). Because Richard Cory’s death starts with “And” as the transition it shows that his dying isn’t even important enough to have it’s own complete sentence dedicated to it. Chaos is probably running rampant in Richard Cory’s mind as he chooses to end his life on “one calm summer night” (15); a contradiction because of such chaos or violence happening on a calm night. Edwin Arlington Robinson makes Richard Cory an example of irony in life and in death.
Edgar Allan Poe uses many different types and forms of irony in “Cask of Amontillado”. In the beginning we learn of Fortunato’s love of wine, even considering himself a connoisseur; it’s an odd twist-of-fate when his love ultimately leads him to his death. Fortunato suffers an untimely death in the quiet of the catacombs while everyone is overhead, celebrating and having a good time. The irony comes from the fact that everyone else is carefree and dancing around while a man is dying before his time below them. Another example of irony is in the fact that Fortunato thought himself to be better than everyone around him, but he dies a lonely death, and is literally underfoot of everyone he thought to be below him in life. It is hard to pick out such few examples of irony from so many in “Cask of Amontillado”.
Simon and Garfunkel show irony in their song “The Sounds of Silence” in many ways, starting as early as the title. The title shows it own irony in the fact that silence obviously doesn’t make a sound but it is implying so by saying “The Sounds of Silence”. In line one is written, “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend”, this is ironic in the fact that the majority of people do not think of the darkness as a friend but as something to be feared or hated instead. The statement “My words like silent raindrops fell,” (26), is a contradiction in itself because rain and words both clearly make sound. Building on the “silent raindrops” (26) is “And echoed / In the wells of silence”, yet another contradiction because we were just told the raindrops made no sound, yet they are echoing which isn’t possible. So many contradictions exist in this song by Simon and Garfunkel but I found these to be the most amusing of them all.
Overall, irony can be found throughout life, literature, and music; it just takes a moment to find where such irony lies. We see the irony of life in poetry as we watch Richard Cory’s life and death unfold. The way Fortunato lives his life only serves as a passage to his death which is ironic in more ways than one can name. Simon and Garfunkel are pretty much screaming silently for everyone’s attention as they write their song about “The Sounds of Silence”. If one truly looks at the life around them, they can see that everything has a sense of irony; from something as easily noticed as a sheriff bending the law to suit his needs to something as unseen as a child dying before it’s even born.