Jude the Obscure

Irony in Jude the Obscure

In his work, Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy tells the tale of two people hopelessly in love, fighting against both internal and external conflicts to pursue that love and have some semblance of a normal life together. Set in England in the late 19th century, this story is about Jude and Sue's struggle to overcome the harsh pressures of society's strict class structure in order to live their lives together. From the day they meet, Jude and Sue experience countless setbacks that prevent them from attaining happiness. Though their bond is very strong and it appears that they are meant for each other, the pair is unable to remain together. Interestingly enough, many of the disasters that befall this ill-fated couple and the predicaments with which they are forced to deal are ironic. Hardy strategically uses irony in a subtle way throughout Jude the Obscure to develop the book's overall marriage theme.

The first way in which Hardy uses irony in correlation with the marriage theme is through the two main characters' own personal experiences with marriage. Jude Fawley was slyly tricked into marrying Arabella at a very young age after she told him that she was pregnant with his child and had nowhere else to turn. This...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 747 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4495 literature essays, 1451 sample college application essays, 183 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in