How is verbal, dramatic, and situational irony expressed in Guy de Maupassant's story "The Necklace"?
When his wife complains that she cannot attend the party because she has nothing to wear, Monsieur Loisel asks her,
"How much would it cost, a suitable dress...?"
The verbal irony is that it will cost the couple a great deal, and not just in money. Mathilde will have to sacrifice her pride, her beauty, and years of her life as a result of making this purchase to attend the party. Monsieur Loisel is likely also considering the fact that he has been saving up money for a gun and a hunting trip for himself the following summer; therefore, his wife's purchase will not only cost him the four hundred francs but also his dreams of a hunting getaway.
Mathilde is so concerned with appearances that a new dress worth 400 francs is not enough to placate her desire to impress "rich" women. Thus, she enlists the help of her friend, Madame Forestier, in obtaining a necklace which she believes further illuminates a wealthier lifestyle than she actually lives. Ironically, this act of borrowing her friend's (fake) jewels leads to the physical devastation of Mathilde as she works endlessly to pay off the debt she acquires to purchase a replacement necklace:
Mme. Loisel looked old now. She had become the woman of
impoverished households—strong and hard and rough. With
frowsy hair, skirts askew, and red hands, she talked loud while
washing the floor with great swishes of water.
Thus, Mathilde's youthful beauty is lost because she chases superficial beauty.
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