What is ironic about Ulrich's wish at the beginning of the story?
First, it is important to answer what Ulrich wanted. He wished more than anything else to meet the man that he hated, to kill him. The two men hated each other as they inherited a feud that went back at least two generations.
As Ulrich is wising for this, he comes face to face with the man he detests. Here is the quote:
If only on this wild night, in this dark, lone spot, he might come across Georg Znaeym, man to man, with none to witness—that was the wish that was upper- most in his thoughts. And as he stepped round the trunk of a huge beech he came face to face with the man he sought.
The logic of the irony is that we usually do not get what we wish. The idea of wishful thinking encapsulates this idea. But on this occasion Ulrich comes face to face with Georg. The other irony is that the one he hates eventually becomes his friend. By the end of the story the two men are not only reconciled, but they seek to outdo each other in kindness.
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