Language and Style in Betryal in the city - Irony

Situational Irony

After the death of Adika, Jusper went wild singing songs of vengeance and as a result he is taken away by agents of the government to be cooled down.

He was said to be dangerous to peace loving people. It is ironical that when he was brought back after three months, he has instead worsened and people said he was mad. (pg 4-5)

In prison, one is not allowed to talk too much. It doesn’t pay to talk a lot.

It is ironical that askari takes great exception to Mosese’s silence and tries to force him to talk.

Due to the fact that the prison authorities know Mosese as being talkative they will not allow him to keep quiet and demand that he explains what he is keeping quiet about.

It is ironical that though while in prison one is expected to show consistency of character and a market improvement, one cannot afford to stick to one’s principle’s otherwise he will never leave jail.

According to Jere, the character in the Pilate story (his fellow inmate) did not want to be Pilate and instead insisted on being Jesus.

The said character did not know that being Jesus meant receiving canes and when Jere caned him, he wailed and Jere was subsequently punished (it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth) (pg 23)

It is ironical that it will take a state visitor to have political prisoners released in Kafira.

Jere tells askari that innocence can be an offence.

This statement is given credence by the fact that Jere and Mosese are in prison, not because of committing an offence but standing for the truth.

Tumbo says that a sum of money has been allocated for a play-writing competition and adds that the democratic part of it is that anyone has to participate yet in actual sense, there is no competition.

He goes ahead to pronounce Jusper as the winner of the non-existence competition.

News of Jusper’s wim will be in the papers the following week.

It’s ironical that Tumbo will not accept the suggestion that the visiting head of state visits the upcountry to see the progress in agriculture despite the fact that the head of state offered technicians for the said progress.

Kabito’s attack on the government that Mulili and his likes choke Kafira is ironical since he is a major beneficiary of the system.

His appointment to the entertainment committee is reward for his loyalty to Boss.

It is also ironical that by pointing out the

truth, he is accused of sowing seeds of discord among the other people.

According to Boss, grey hair symbolizes wisdom.

It is therefore ironic that he is determined to remove all strands of grey hair, claiming that a leader should have grey hair. (pg 58)

Dramatic Irony

As Jusper enters, Doga hides behind the bush. The audience as well as Nina is awake of Doga’s whereabouts but Jusper is not.

Jusper asks Tumbo if he had come to see his (Jusper’s) cousin, The readers as well as Jusper know that Regina is the girlfriend to Jusper and not his cousin but Tumbo doesn’t.

Mulili is not aware that Tumbo and Nicodemo are already aware of Kabito’s death.

Tumbo tells Nicodemo, “Here he comes.

Remember we know nothing.’ (enter Mulili) (pg 62)

Boss, Tumbo and Mulili are not aware of the plot by Mosese, Jere, and Jusper to topple Boss who is duped into ordering the guards to surrender their guns to be used during the final rehearsal of the play.

The readers on the other hand are awake of the plot by the three.

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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