Romeo and Juliet, and also their friends and families face a lot of instances of dramatic irony in the story. Dramatic irony creates suspense and adds to the conflict that exists between the Capulets and the Montagues in Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Dramatic irony in Romeo and Juliet occurs when Juliet and Romeo fall in love with each other at first sight, when Romeo’s friends don’t know that Romeo and Juliet have fallen in love with each other, and when Lady Capulet thinks that Juliet is crying about Paris, not Romeo. Romeo in the beginning of the play had been crying about how he could not get Rosaline, a Capulet.
After all of the crying and weeping, Benvolio and Mercutio try to get Romeo to go to a party at the Capulet house. Romeo only agrees so that he might be able to catch a glimpse of Rosaline. When he goes to the party, rather than falling for Rosaline, he sees another beautiful girl that he instantly falls in love with. This girl is Juliet, the cousin of Rosaline, and she also falls in love with Romeo at first sight as well. Romeo and Juliet meet, they dance, but still do not know who each other are. Romeo before leaving the party asks the nurse who that girl (Juliet) is and she replies by saying that Juliet is the daughter of Lady Capulet.
Romeo is taken away completely by this and says, “O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt” (Romeo and Juliet 1. 5. 118). Juliet also asks the nurse and the nurse responds by saying that Romeo is a Montague, and like just like Romeo, she is also taken away. The dramatic irony of this is the fact that Romeo’s (Montague) and Juliet (Capulet) families are very high profile enemies to each other. The fact that they have fallen in love with each other is a very ironic, as now if they continue their love to one another, they are sure to face major problems down the line.
After both Romeo and Juliet have fallen in love with each other, nobody in all of Verona and beyond knows about it, not a single person except Romeo and Juliet. Many people still believe that Romeo is still falling for Rosaline. In fact, at one point Mercutio exclaimed, “Why that same pale hearted wench, that Rosaline torments him, so that he will sure run mad” (Romeo and Juliet 2. 4. 4-5). Even until after their marriage, both Romeo and Juliet are pretty secretive about the love or the marriage, except for Juliet expressing her feeling to the nurse.
Juliet only told the nurse because she loves the nurse and trusted her as well, and needed the help of the nurse to get married to Romeo. The first time that the majority of people would know about the marriage or love would be when Friar Lawrence would publicly announce it to Verona. The dramatic irony in all of this is the fact that after all of the major events (fights, family brawls, and the murder of Mercutio and Tybalt), no one knows that one of the Capulets is married to one of the Montagues. Something like this at the time period would be extremely unacceptable, and even in the time period would be ironic.
After news of the murder of Tybalt and Mercutio is delivered to Juliet through the Nurse, Juliet is devastated. Due to the nurse being so unclear, Juliet thinks that both Romeo and Tybalt both have died. Once things clear up, Juliet figures out that Romeo has killed Tybalt, and her first reaction to this is anger toward Romeo. After things cool down, she feels bad that she has said this, and she takes her words back. Once Juliet learns about the punishment Romeo gets she feels the worst she has ever felt. Romeo was given the sentence of exile, which in the time period meant no connection to people, whatsoever.
Due to this Juliet knows that she might never ever see the love of her life, at all. To Juliet this meant that there would be no more Romeo, “Juliet feels that Romeo is no longer her lover, and she can’t have him again” (Moffat 139). She started crying a lot after this, so much that her parents had to come to her room and see what was going on. When Lady Capulet inquired as to why Juliet was crying, Juliet right away said that she was crying about the horrible death of Tybalt. Lady Capulet responds to this by saying, “Well, girl thou weep’st not so much for his death, as that the villain lives which slaughtered him” (Romeo and Juliet 3. . 65-66). Juliet had just tricked her mother into thinking that she wasn’t crying for Romeo, but rather Tybalt. The dramatic irony in this case is that the reader knows that Juliet is lying to her mother, but Lady Capulet actually believes this, and goes along with it. Dramatic irony was a driving method of keeping things fresh in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. One of the most prominent instances of dramatic irony in the play was when Romeo and Juliet fall in love with each other, causing for great irony in the fact that they did not know.
Another instance of dramatic irony is when nobody but Romeo and Juliet know about the love that they share, making great irony because a lot of events occur after their marriage. And finally another instance of dramatic irony is when Juliet tricks her mother into thinking that she is crying to Tybalt rather than Romeo. If in any of these examples, Romeo and Juliet were to know what was going to happen, there really would be no story. It was important that Shakespeare implemented dramatic irony into the play, as without it, the story would be quite plain and boring.