In English, dramatic irony is when the readers'/audience's omniscience means they know something that the characters don't yet know.

Irony is 讽(諷)刺, but I'm not sure how "dramatic" might be translated in this context. Besides, if you translate each word individually, you'd end up with an overly literal translation. You could describe it as irony derived from the fact that the reader/audience has 上帝视(視)角 (omniscience), but that feels a bit awkward. Is there a term for this?


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This is a good way to express dramatic in Chinese. Wiktionary has the following definitions:

1 (uncountable) drama; dramatic art; theater(performing art)
2 (countable) play; script of a play; piece of theater, work of theater (Classifier: 部 m; 齣/出 m)

Here's an except from an article on Zhihu:

最后聊聊Dramatic irony(戏剧讽刺),它是常用的文学、戏剧手法。指在某一情景中,观众对情况的把握多于剧中人,剧中人的无意识和观众的有意识之间构成张力。观众对这种张力所产生的喜剧或悲剧效果心领神会,讽刺效果就实现了。

There you can see the English along with the Chinese for dramatic irony.

  • 反讽 might be a better term, not exactly implying dramatically, but close enough. There is a shorted term for omniscience: 全知, especially it refers to God. Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 1:24

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