There are many different types of literary techniques, but few have had as great affect to literature as irony. Irony is used in many ways to make something appear to be what it is not. There are numerous types of irony; the three most common are verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational or structural irony. All the different types of irony show it in a different way without changing the technique that is used.
Irony is a literary term defined as the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning, or an expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning. Many times it is the exact opposite of what it is supposed to be. It is used in literature to state an idea for an artistic or persuasive effect. .
One type of irony is verbal irony. It is described as something that occurs when either the speaker means something totally different than what they are saying or the audience realizes, because of what they know about the situation, that the opposite of what the character is saying is true. Verbal irony can be used to ridicule, but is often more sophisticated then basic sarcasm.
One of the most recognized examples of this is in the opening line of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". It says, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." What this really means is that a women should be in want of a husband that has good fortune. This is a type of saying one thing but meaning another.
The next type of irony is dramatic irony. This is defined as an irony where the reader or author knows something that the character does not know. It can also mean that other characters in the story know something that the character does not. Lastly, it can be used where the character says something that shows how little they know about themself.