According to the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, irony consists of a “fine and disguised joke”, as well as that expression that tries to point out something contrary to what the person says. On this occasion we bring some of the phrases of the most famous thinkers and artists about this expressive resource.
The only thing worse than talking about you is not talking about you. (Oscar Wilde)
Surely in an attempt to address all the rumors and say that this controversial writer inspired his contemporaries, Wilde defends himself assuming that the only worst thing that can happen apart from people’s comments is that people simply ignore and don’t talk about you.
In this sense, Wilde makes use of all the irony of which he is able to place a positive accent on the gossip of the public, in order to consider them apparently synonymous with fame.
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure (Clarence Darrow)
With all the expressive talent a man of law can have, this American lawyer admits to having never personally operated on any human life, in order to extinguish it, without that means that he hasn´t enjoyed the fact that a certain person dies.
In some sense as a good connoisseur of the Law recognizes the illegality of killing another individual, taking refuge in the freedom that emotions can give us, which correspond only to the private and personal sphere.
Some people like my advice so much that they frame it on the wall instead of using them. (Gordon Dickson)
In an obvious ironic tone, in which we could also identify notorious sarcastic traits, this Canadian writer recognizes that his audience admires his phrases, without leading them to practice them. In this way they are able to send them to mount in paintings and display them publicly on the walls of their homes or offices, without this leading them to put them to use in their daily lives.
It could also be interpreted as a strong critique of its readers and followers, for whom – in Dickson’s opinion – snobism and display is preferable, rather than in internalizing the messages of his books and texts.
I find television very educational. Every time someone turns it on, I go to another room to read a book. (Groucho Marx)
Also in a phrase quite loaded with sarcasm and irony, this American comedian and writer criticizes the world of show business built by the television industry, making a kind of analogy between this genre and reading.
In this way, using his great comic tone, Groucho Marx states that being in front of a lighted television triggers the desire to go elsewhere to read, ironizing about the educational contribution of the world of television entertainment.
It often seems a little sad that Noah and his family didn’t miss the boat. (Mark Twain)
With a clear allusion to the biblical story about the universal flood and how Noe saved the human species and animals, thanks to the ark, this American writer tries to express his sadness at the survival of humanity, which he depicts in “Noe and his family.”
In this sense Twain makes use of a religious myth to ironically express that it might have been better if they were not saved. Thus he places the Ark as a transatlantic journey that would have been better for this biblical patriarch to lose, so that none of us and us could exist today.
I don’t want to attain immortality through my work. I want to get it without dying. (Woody Allen)
Likewise, this American writer, comedian and filmmaker, recognized for his masterful handling of irony in his works, expresses very sincerely that far from valuing the fame and transcendence that his work can bestow on him over the centuries, going to a more pragmatic plane, Allen confesses that the only immortality he cares about is the one that really allows him not to die.
In this way he throws into the air this ironic and simple phrase, in which he manifests that his real desire is to stay alive through the centuries, and not only to attain transcendence because of his work.
Sometimes I need what only you can give me: your absence. (Ashleigh Brillian)
We also find this phrase from the cartoonist Ashleigh Brillian, who in a clear ironic tone and with great language handling invites his interlocutor to leave. Literature almost always says that irony is totally linked to the ability to make humor, or to see the funny side of things, whatever circumstances they may be, so for some poets irony always leaves on the human face a gesture similar to the ri Sa.
In this case, Brillian quite humorously dismisses the listener, insisting him to give him “his absence”.
History has taught us that man and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all alternatives. (Abba Eban)
Finally, this Israeli politician places the emphasis on the low intelligence sometimes presented by nations and their leaders in resolving diplomatic and territorial conflicts. Likewise, using irony, Eban points out that nations are only capable of attaining wisdom after they have exhausted other less positive avenues such as wars and clashes.
Ironically, for Eban, instead of being the first thing to achieve, wisdom becomes the last thing that humans, organized into peoples and governments, achieve. In some ways this phrase can be related to that of the Colombian literary nobel, Gabriel García Márquez, when he states in his book The Love in the Times of Wrath that “wisdom comes when it is useless to us”.
Image source: definicion.com.mx
August 28, 2019