BETRAYAL IN THE CITY
Irony is a figure of speech where words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. It may also be a situation that may end up in quite a different way than what is generally anticipated.
There are several types of irony ie verbal irony, situational irony, dramatic irony, tragic irony and comic irony. Verbal irony is where what is said is opposite in meaning to what is implied. In Betrayal in the city, Jere asks the Askari, “You mean three doors up? (pg16)” when the Askari had told him that the place for lunatics is three doors down. The Askari did not understand the irony and went ahead to explain that the head of the prison facility was three doors up. To Jere the head of prison facility was insane that is, according to the question.
Furthermore, Jere tells the Askari, “ I am truly grateful now that I know what awaits me. I didn’t know you took such pains.” (pg17) The implications of this statement are also not really understood by the Askari. To Jere, it was irrelevant to incarcerate people and waste a lot of resources ‘reforming’ them instead of just solving the prevailing problems affecting the society. There are more instances of situational irony including Mosese, Jere and Askari. In short, the display by the two prisoners question the authenticity of having prisons run by people who have no idea on the functions of prisons. It also laughs at the freedom that is so talked of when the inside of the prison is safer than outside where it is expected that freedom would rain. In his own sarcastic way, Jere highlights that when one gets out of jail, they enter another prison.
Situational irony involves a situation in which actions have an effect that is opposite from what is intended so that the outcome is contrary to what is expected. In betrayal in the city, it is hoped that incarceration of idealist will make them become conformists to the totalitarian regime of Boss. However, it turns out that, they become more radicalized that those out of prison. Regina is timid and afraid but Jusper is unafraid and confrontational. Jere becomes more proactive and the two prisoners and one ex-prisoner orchestrate a bloodless coup that ousts Boss from power. Furthermore, Tumbo trusts that Jusper will write a play script that endorses Boss regime but it turns out that the play played on their ignorance and incompetence. Moreover, Mulili thinks that if he exposes Boss’ brutality and corrupt nature, he (Mulili) will go scot free until when a gunshot soils his shirt.
Dramatic irony is where the situations in a play/film or story a well-known to the audience while the characters in the play have no idea. The words of the characters suggest the opposite of what is about to happen or maybe has happened but the characters are still in the dark. Some dramatic irony plays out so well creating humour or suspense in the audience because of the folly of the characters. In Betrayal in the City there is not much of dramatic irony that is evident in the play however we shall discuss this in other set books to come. We shall further more discuss tragic and comic irony.