Irony Quotes

Quotes about irony


  • ‘Twas thine own genius gave the final blow,
    And help’d to plant the wound that laid thee low:
    So the struck eagle, stretch’d upon the plain,
    No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
    View’d his own feather on the fatal dart,
    And wing’d the shaft that quiver’d in his heart.
    o George Gordon, Lord Byron, in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers : A Satire (1809)

  • Irony deals with opposites; it has nothing to do with coincidence.
    If two baseball players from the same hometown, on different teams, receive the same uniform number, it is not ironic. It is a coincidence. If Barry Bonds attains lifetime statistics identical to his father’s, it will not be ironic. It will be a coincidence.
    Irony is “a state of affairs that is the reverse of what was to be expected; a result opposite to and in mockery of the appropriate result.” For instance: a diabetic, on his way to buy insulin, is killed by a runaway truck. He is the victim of an accident. If the truck was delivering sugar, he is the victim of an oddly poetic coincidence. But if the truck was delivering insulin, ah! Then he is the victim of an irony.
    If a Kurd, after surviving bloody battle with Saddam Hussein’s army and a long, difficult escape through the mountains, is crushed and killed by a parachute drop of humanitarian aid, that, my friend, is irony writ large.
    Darryl Stingley, the pro football player, was paralyzed after a brutal hit by Jack Tatum. Now Darryl Stingley’s son plays football, and if the son should become paralyzed while playing, it will not be ironic. It will be coincidental. If Darryl Stingley’s son paralyzes someone else, that will be closer to ironic. If he paralyzes Jack Tatum’s son, that will be precisely ironic.
    o Brain Droppings by George Carlin

  • Neither irony nor sarcasm is argument.
    o Rufus Choate, as quoted in A Treasury of Great American Quotations : Our Country’s Life & History in the Thoughts of its Men and Women (1964) by Charles Hurd

  • Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.
    o Anatole France, as quoted in Satanic Satire in the Modern Novel (1925) by Sidney Stephen Greenleaf, p. 25

  • Irony, some say, is the art of juxtaposing incongruous parts. One needs a knowing distance. Irony presupposes detachment, which, in the case of Animal Rights, we may forgive Doctor Dillamond for being without.
    o Mrs “Horrible” Morrible in Wicked (1995) by Gregory Maguire

  • Given a long enough time, of course, a wide enough frame, there is nothing said or done, ever, that isn’t ironic in the end.
    o Mrs “Horrible” Morrible in Wicked (1995) by Gregory Maguire

  • If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.
    o W. Somerset Maugham in Strictly Personal, ch. 31 (1941)

  • He knew that women appreciated neither irony nor sarcasm, but simple jokes and funny stories. He was amply provided with both.
    o W. Somerset Maugham in Then and Now : A Novel (1946), p. 136

  • Irony is the form of paradox. Paradox is what is good and great at the same time.
    o Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, in Dialogue on Poetry and Literary Aphorisms as translated by Ernst Behler and Roman Struc (1968), p. 126

  • Irony is an insult conveyed in the form of a compliment.
    o Edwin Percy Whipple, in Lectures on Subjects Connected with Literature and Life (1859), Lecture III : Wit and Humor, p. 102

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