Dramatic Irony

D L Henderson
2 min readOct 10, 2022

Dramatic Irony 10/10/2022

“SATIRE applies to writing that exposes or ridicules conduct, doctrines, or institutions either by direct criticism or more often through irony, parody, or caricature.” (Merriam Webster)

“IRONY applies to a manner of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is seemingly expressed.” (ibid)

Dramatic Irony (or tragic irony) is “an incongruity between the situation in a drama and the words used by the characters that only the audience can see.” (ibid)

Indignation is “anger aroused by something unjust, unworthy, or mean.” (ibid)

Defining these words precisely are both relevant and appropriate to a discussion of this short Bible event recorded in Luke 5:27–32:

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

May I draw your attention to the last part where Jesus, at first glance, seems to call the religious leaders righteous. However, He knew they were constantly trying to find a reason to crucify Him. So, that doesn’t make sense.

Then, understand that Jesus was indignantly using dramatic irony that only those who had come to see Him, because He was the guest of honor at the banquet, really understood His message. While with those self-righteous leaders, the message went right over their heads!

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between