Dutchman and The Slave

Dutchman and The Slave Irony

Dramatic Irony: Lula's "Knowledge"

Lula is able to pinpoint facts and details of Clay's life that no one should be able to guess. He believes she knows some of his friends, but ironically she is only expressing things about him based on her stereotypical beliefs regarding black men. Readers know that she doesn't actually know Clay but instead is using her storehouse of white assumptions about black men.

Dramatic Irony: Lula's Appearance to Passersby

At the end of the play, a young black man gets on the train car with Lula, and then a black conductor tips his hat to her. Ironically, they have no clue she has just killed a man; they only see her as an innocent white woman. Readers, however, know that she is a temptress, a racist, and a murderer.

Situational Irony: Walker and Words

Walker tells Easley and Grace, "Oh shit, I learned so many words for what I've wanted to say. They all come down on me at once. But almost none of them are mine" (53). He is expressing irony because as an intellectual and a fan of Western culture—poetry in particular—he has so many words at his disposal. He can quote, pastiche, admire; yet, as he says here, these words are not his own. In fact, they can lead him further from his true self.

Situational Irony: Walker's desires

Walker says wryly that he would prefer to debate and talk with Easley about politics or art than converse with his own ignorant officers. This is ironic given the fact that he is the leader of a movement that wants to punish and hold accountable fake white liberals like Easley. This irony is tinged with melancholy and indicates to the reader that Walker is torn between different aspects of his history and identity.