A contrast or discrepancy between what is said and what is meant or between what happens and what is expected to happen in life and in literature. In verbal irony, characters say the opposite of what they mean. In irony of circumstance or situation, the opposite of what is expected occurs. In dramatic irony, a character speaks in ignorance of a situation or event known to the audience or to the other characters. Flannery O'Connor's short stories employ all these forms of irony, as does Poe's "Cask of Amontillado."
On the desk of the Oval Office, President Truman kept under glass the one-word telegram Bob sent him following his dramatic upset of Tom Dewey. It read: "unpack." When another President - Abraham Lincoln - died in the house across the street from Ford's Theater, his Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, standing at Lincoln's side, said "Now he belongs to the ages." The same is equally true of Bob Hope. He is not America's - he is the world's. He belongs not to our age, but to all ages. And yet, even though he belongs to all time and to all peoples, he is our own, for he was quintessentially American. - . Senator Dianne Feinstein Aug. 27, 2003