Irony in Short Stories

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The uses of irony can easily captivate or excite us. Many times in order to understand the morals or theme of a story you need to be able to recognise the irony. In the short stories, “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, “The Gift of the Magi” by O Henry and “The Suit” by Can Themba various forms of irony are present. These forms of irony include: verbal, situational and dramatic irony. The first story “Lamb to the Slaughter” is about Mary Meloney, a devoted caring wife that ends up killing her much loved husband after he tells her something drastically upsetting one evening. The murder weapon is the frozen leg of lamb she was planning to prepare for dinner. She sneakily covers up her actions so not to get caught. Dramatic Irony Plays its role when Mary went to the store after killing her husband. She acted as if nothing happened and gave the grocery clerk the idea that everything was fine. This is ironic because the clerk thinks Mr Meloney is at home waiting for his dinner, but we know he is dead. Another example is when the policemen are eating the leg of lamb and one refers to the murder weapon as probably right under their very noses. This is ironic because it is in fact right under their noses. “Lamb to the Slaughter” usually refers to an innocent, naïve person led to danger. In this story, a leg of lamb is literally used to slaughter Mr Meloney and deducting from Mary's reaction after he spoke to her, he was not innocent. This is situational irony. Verbal irony occurs when Mary learns that Patrick is leaving her. He ends up having the lamb Mary offered, but certainly not in the way she first intended.

The Suit is about a highly affectionate husband,Philemon, that learns his dearest wife, Matilda is unfaithful. He walks into the scene of crime causing the “other man” to run away, leaving his suit behind. As her punishment she has to treat the suit like a third member in the family. Verbal irony is present in Philemon's tone and choice of words when he...
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