Chopin employs dramatic irony throughout “The Story of an Hour” since the reader is aware of what the characters are not. For instance, we see that Louise Mallard comes to the realization that she is a free woman now that she is a widow. In fact, we suspect it even before Louise recognizes it. We know that she looks forward to a new independent life of doing whatever she wants and not having to submit to her husband’s will in the patriarchal society. However, her sister is unaware of Louise’s epiphany and thinks she is overcome by her grief.
There are also examples of situational irony when outcomes are different than what we might expect in a typical situation. For example, we might expect a widow to grieve when she thinks about her life without her husband. Mrs. Mallard does cry uncontrollably when she first hears the news; however, she undergoes a change once she realizes what this means for her future. No one would expect her feelings of relief and excitement about the future.
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