Cosmic irony

What is Cosmic irony in literature?

“Cosmic irony,” also known as “irony of fate,” is a literary term used to describe a type of irony in which the universe or fate seems to be working against the desires or efforts of a character or group of characters, often in a cruel or humorous way.

This type of irony suggests that there is an unseen force or power that is manipulating events and influencing the outcome of the story, often in a way that is beyond the control of the characters involved.

example of cosmic irony:

In the Greek tragedy “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles, the protagonist Oedipus tries to avoid a prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother, only to unwittingly fulfill the prophecy through his actions. Throughout the play, Oedipus attempts to uncover the truth about his past and his role in the prophecy, only to discover that he is the cause of his own downfall. This is an example of cosmic irony, as the universe or fate seems to be working against Oedipus, despite his efforts to change his fate.

Another example of cosmic irony can be found in the story of “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs, in which a family’s wishes granted by a magical monkey’s paw lead to disastrous and tragic consequences. Despite the characters’ initial excitement at the prospect of receiving their heart’s desire, the consequences of their wishes are far from what they had hoped for, creating a sense of cosmic irony and a warning against the dangers of tempting fate.

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