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Use of Irony in Young Goodman Brown

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1086 words Published: 14th Dec 2017

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In the short stories Rip Van Winkle, Young Goodman Brown and The Cask of Amontillado, the authors made use of irony which indicated mockery of something or someone in different ways. Washington Irving used so much irony in his short story Rip Van Winkle. The title character is a youthful married Dutch American who has a kind and generous nature. The main character is located in Catskill Mountains of New York way before the American Revolution. Reluctant to profitable labor, the character prefers rambles within the mountains, sitting under the shade gossiping with his buddies moreover, playing with the community children (Irving 105).

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Washington develops the thesis of the story by use of irony. After meandering with his gun together with Wolf, his close companion, Rip trails himself into the higher parts of the mountains. Soon afterwards, Rip stumbles upon a stranger who was moving what looked like a barrel of liquor. Consequently, with the aid of the Hollands, moreover a whole day of mountain climbing, Rip falls into a solemn, deep slumber. Nevertheless when he wakes up, Rip does not know how long he has been sleeping or where both of his friends have gone off too. He woke up twenty years later, as an aged man and strolls back to his village; he is amazed by the transformations that have occurred. After some commotion, he is joined with his grown-up daughter and her children.

The irony is further noticed in Rip’s coldness to Dame Van Winkle. He was bossed and chided, but he was satisfied. The owner of the bar, Nicholas Vedder dominated the conversations and views of the junto symbolize the colonial governors selected by the Crown. Even as he rarely spoke, his authority was constantly present. This reflects the inactive position the governors accommodated political affairs, as well as the colonists’ substantial respect for them. (Irving 109)

Another irony to reflect on is the ways wherein Irving anticipates lots of of Thoreau’s thoughts. Long prior to the retreat to Walden Pond, Washington introduces Rip Van Winkle as a happy mortal, of idiotic, well-oiled characters, who take the humanity easy, eat brown bread or white, any that can be got without difficulty, and would rather go hungry on a penny than labor for a pound which is very ironic.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story Young Goodman Brown is saturated, with irony. At the beginning of the narrative a youthful Puritan husband leaves at sunset from his youthful Puritan wife. Faith, like the wife was suitably named, pushes her own appealing head into the street, allowing the wind to play with the pink ribbons which were on her cap, whereas she called to Goodman Brown. Nathaniel Hawthorne says that Faith is appropriately named, an ironic declaration since she later on in the evening, is being acknowledged into the congregation of devil-worshippers as a fresh convert to the evil cluster. The description of faith as pretty as well as her putting on pink ribbons, as a sign of cheerful outlook on life and youthful innocence is also ironic (Hawthorne 405).

There is more irony in the Goodman Brown’s dialogue with the old man. He at first clings to his apparent purity of lineage furthermore claims that his father and grandfather had not deviated from the Puritanical lineage. The old man discovers that not only were his relatives acquainted with the abnormal path but well familiar the devil on an individual level. The irony inside this passage is seen when the devil assists Goodman Brown’s ancestors during the persecution of Indians and Quakers.

There is definitely irony in the fact that it is the majority of the pious church people who emerge at the evil gathering inside the forest. The aged woman who bypasses Young Goodman Brown as well as the devil on the trail is recognized by Brown as the woman who taught her catechism.

There is a remarkable irony to this vow because when Goodman Brown came back at dawn; he cannot look at his wife with the identical faith he had before. After Goodman Brown lastly met with the Devil, he asserts that the cause of his lateness was because Faith kept him back awhile. This proclamation has a double implication because his wife actually prevented him from being punctual for his meeting as well as his faith to God expressively delayed his gathering with the devil as well (Hawthorne 409).

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All through The Cask Of Amontillado, Poe uses dramatic and verbal irony to construct suspense, foreshadow the ending, and moreover add a touch of ghoulish humor. For instance the title cask meaning wine barrel is resulting from the same root statement used to structure casket, which means coffin. Accordingly, the cask symbolically represents Fortunato’s casket. Secondly, Fortunato’s name which is Italian implies good fortune, luck. Nevertheless, Fortunato is so unfortunate because he was heading to his death. Another element of irony is Fortunato’s Costume. He dresses as a court clown. His celebratory outfit contrasts with the terrible fate that awaits him. Moreover, occasionally, the bell on top of his cone-shaped hat tinkles a nice comic feeling from Poe. Another aspect of irony is when Fortunato asks Montresor if he is a mason, signifying a member of the fraternal array of Freemasonry. It is ironic that Montresor says he is certainly a mason. Nevertheless, he is using the expression to mean a craftsman who constructs buildings using (Cecil 41).

Poe also uses irony repeatedly in the dialogue. For instance, when Montresor meets Fortunato, he tells him that he is lucky they met. Later on, when Montresor pretends to be worried about Fortunato’s scything cough as they go down into the tombs, he tells him that they have to go back because his health is precious. Fortunato tells him not to worry because the cough will not kill him. Montresor quickly agrees that the cough will not kill him; the audience can nearly see a devilish gleam within Montresor’s eyes, because he surely knew that Fortunato will die. He later opens a bottle of wine furthermore toasts Fortunato to his long life.

In all the three short stories the authors used dramatic, verbal and situational irony to convey message to the audience which came out amazingly. Irony is an essential way in which authors can develop deeper stages of meaning in a text. Furthermore it also is a very efficient way of involving and engaging a reader in a text.


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