The short story "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty takes place in Dublin, Ireland, during a civil war. A young man with a rifle and field glasses is stationed on a rooftop. He can hear sporadic fighting going on all around. When he strikes a match to light a...
The short story "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty takes place in Dublin, Ireland, during a civil war. A young man with a rifle and field glasses is stationed on a rooftop. He can hear sporadic fighting going on all around. When he strikes a match to light a cigarette, he is spotted by another sniper, who fires at him. He shoots two people down on the street and in turn is shot in the arm by the sniper in the building across from him. He tricks the sniper across the street into thinking he is dead and then shoots him with a pistol. Somehow he hits him, and the other sniper falls dead from the rooftop. When he goes down and turns over the body, the first sniper discovers that the dead man who was attacking him was his brother.
There are several possible types of irony in literature. For instance, verbal irony involves a speaker saying something with an underlying meaning that contrasts with what he or she actually says. Dramatic irony is when readers are aware of something that the characters in the story don't know; this builds anticipation of the outcome. Situational irony is when there is a difference between what is expected to occur and what actually happens.
The two main examples of irony in "The Sniper" are both situational. First of all, we are introduced to a sniper on a rooftop who searches for people that he considers to be enemies so that he can shoot them. However, it is ironic that the predator on the roof also becomes prey when he is spotted and fired upon by another sniper.
The other example of irony takes place at the end. Although he is wounded, the sniper manages to use the clever ruse of feigning his own death to lure his supposed enemy out of hiding. After he shoots and kills the man who has been firing at him, the sniper encounters the bitter irony that the dead man is his own brother.