The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

The Story of an Hour book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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

Expert Answers info

Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer

bookB.A. from University of Oxford

bookM.A. from University of Oxford

bookPh.D. from University of Leicester

calendarEducator since 2017

write2,235 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

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...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 520 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

calendarEducator since 2016

write6,851 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial