The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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What is the dramatic irony in "The Story of an Hour"?

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Dramatic irony is evoked when the reader knows more about something than the characters in the story do. There are two key elements of dramatic irony in this story. Because a significant portion of this story focuses on Louise Mallard when she is alone in her room, the reader is privy to her innermost thoughts during this time, while Josephine and the others do not know what is going on in the room. They have not witnessed the young widow—as she believes herself to be—beginning to feel that she is "free" as a result of her husband's death. Therefore, when Josephine begs Louise to open the door, fearing that she will "make yourself ill," there is an underlying dramatic irony. Josephine is afraid that her sister is in hysterics of grief, whereas the reader knows the opposite to be true.

The second key element of irony comes at the very end of the story. It is broadly ironic that, instead of being freed by her husband's death, Louise is actually killed by shock at his...

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