What is the irony and the conflict of The Sniper?

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mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story, "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty, the story is set during the Irish Civil War in the 1920's.  Just as in the Civil War in our country in the 1860's, everyone must choose sides which often pitted members of one family against each other.  In this Irish family, two brothers choose different sides and fight against each other.  The conflict is the war, the fight against each other when the sniper is trying to kill the other shooter not realizing it is his brother, and I think the last conflict is the insanity of war.  The irony of the story is that after all the work of making the perfect shot to kill the man on the other rooftop, the sniper finds out that he has killed his own brother. I think the author uses this terrible irony to reinforce the idea that war is seldom a solution and not worth the terrible cost.