What are some examples of irony in "The Birds" by Daphne Du Maurier?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are a number of examples of irony in Du Maurier's story, "The Birds." One of the most striking can be found in the fate of Mrs Trigg, the farmer's wife. She demonstrates scepticism towards Nat when he tells her about the birds' attack on his home. In fact, she teases Nat by asking him if they were "real" birds  with "proper feathers." Later in the story, however, Mrs Trigg is killed in a similar attack. In a further ironic twist, Mrs Trigg is killed in her own bedroom, just as Nat Hocken and his family were attacked in their bedrooms.

Similarly, when Nat finds Mr Trigg's body, he notes that his gun is lying "beside him." This is ironic because earlier in the story, Mr Trigg had offered a gun to Nat and talked of the "fun" that he and his friends intended to have by shooting the  birds.

In employing irony when portraying the deaths of Mr and Mrs Trigg, Du Maurier not only demonstrates the power of nature but also mocks the idea that we can control and conquer it with man-made objects, like guns.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial