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Irony is a figure of speech that has been used by poets from various literary epochs, to embellish their poetry, and has been majorly used as a tool to further the underlying idea of the poetry piece. Some of the best pieces of ironic poetry have been analysed in order to attain a clear understanding on the concept, while also examining the impact irony has had on English poetry, over the ages.
The underlying irony is the attempt to highlight the harassment meted out to women of the Victorian era. Women couldn't live life on their own terms, due to social norms and mores. The situation itself is ironic, considering that the male in the poem liberates the women from leading a life of misery by sticking to these social limitations and boundaries. The irony adopts the form of a Dramatic Irony. Evidently, the ironic idea further the hidden theme of the exploitation of women in the Victorian era.
Similarly, 'Ozymandias', by P.B.Shelley is another work that contains an underlying message. The poem talks about Ozymandias, who rises to power and falls in Egypt. The underlying irony is the very fact that in spite of all the power one attains, it becomes history at some point or the other and goes into oblivion. This applies to governments and all those who lust for power; for eventually, it's all gone! The irony here is more of a situational irony, considering the spiritual and more mature outlook that the poet tries to portrays as a part of the irony.
The next poem we could consider is Ariel Dorfman's 'Hope', which is an irony on the pain and suffering that engulfs the world of mankind. His poem is a philosophical irony, and is a reflection and revelation into the miseries that this world.
W.H.Auden's ' ...