At a certain point, the men had plenty to eat, even though it was in the form of their own shipmates. The irony of this excess is that nobody had access to fat, which was required for the digestion of such quantities of meat.
Seawater (Situational Irony)
In many ways seawater is the cruelest thing by which to be surrounded, because it cannot be consumed for any beneficial purpose. Men literally died of thirst in the biggest body of water in the world. The irony here is cruel.
Society of Friends (Dramatic Irony)
Ramsdell and Coffin, both members of the Quaker Church back in Nantucket, and truly close friends generally speaking, were the ones who proposed the idea of casting lots. No faster determination could be made about their sins of playing chance and murder than when they both drew the lots and Ramsdell was made to kill both his 'Friend' and his friend.
Cannibalism (Dramatic Irony)
Like the rest of the irony found in this account, there is a deep cruelty here that cannot be escaped. Whereas the men headed toward South America for fear of winding up on an island inhabited by cannibals and 'savages', it was they who would become these persons in due time because of their lack of prudence.
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Study Guide for In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex study guide contains a biography of Nathaniel Philbrick, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.