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The Ministry of Love, like its three sister ministries the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Peace, and the Ministry of Plenty, is ironic because the results of its actions are exactly opposite to the meaning of its name. The Ministry of Truth deals in lies, the Ministry of Peace oversees endless war, and the Ministry of Plenty never produces enough goods to satisfy the population. In the case of the Ministry of Love, its business is terrifying the population into obedience. Even its physical manifestation stands in ironic contrast to its name:
The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometre of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons. (Part I, Chapter 1)
Later in the novel, the Ministry of Love will be where Winson Smith is tortured into "loving" Big Brother.
The irony of the Ministry of Love is a) they ENFORCE and OBLIGATE people to love and feel love b) they do it via violent means, bullying, brainwashing, forcibly and through mean ways c) they are an organization of terror and horror among the citizens, and they call themselves "ministry of love".
Because of the things they do, they instill fear and horror among the citizens, which is reason enough to consider their work to be ironic and hypocritical.
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