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Written by Yang (Jenny) Bai
Irony of Marian's physical appearance
When Walter first encounters Marian, she is standing at some distance from him. When Walter first casts his glance on her from a distance, he takes note of her graceful, feminine figure. Walter is struck by her beautiful and graceful figure, and is expecting to meet a beautiful lady. But as he approaches her, he realizes that her facial features are rough and masculine. Walter is amazed by the ironic discrepancy of her beautiful form and repulsive face. This irony indicates that Marian possesses both feminine and masculine characteristics.
The irony of human character
Both Sir Percival and Fosco are highly ironic characters, whose attractive outward manners are at odds with the baseness of their characters. Both Percival and Fosco possess pleasant manners. Percival poses himself as a gentleman who is genuinely in love with Laura, that even Marian briefly believes him. Ironically, Percival is only after Laura’s wealth. The portrayal of Fosco is even more ironic. Fosco is portrayed as a highly cultured and sophisticated European gentleman. He is well versed in languages and art. Marian is charmed and fascinated by him and falsely believes to him be their friend and ally. Ironically, Fosco is the greatest villain of the story. Fosco’s skill in crime amounts to the level of fine art. His evil character is totally incompatible with his culturally sophisticated facade.
Dramatic irony of Laura's identity
We as readers are aware of the fact that Laura is alive by the end of the second Epoch. Through Marian’s observation, we as readers are also aware of Percival and Fosco’s conspiracy with regards to Laura. However, Frederick Fairlie and the servants of Limmeridge House are not aware of Fosco’s conspiracy and refuse to believe the sick and physically altered Lady Glyde to be Laura Fairlie. Their unwillingness to believe in Laura’s identity is a dramatic irony.
The situational irony of Sir Percival’s fate
Sir Percival wants to protect his interests by setting fire to the faked marriage registrar. Ironically, the fire goes out of control and he himself is burned to death. It is situationally ironic because his attempts in protecting his interests end up costing him of his life.
The irony of appearance and reality
Jane Catherick was seen to be having an intimate conversation with Sir Percival when she was a young woman. Her husband and everyone in her neighbourhood falsely believed Percival to be Jane’s lover. However, this is not so. Percival was merely bribing Jane in accessing the marriage registrar. Unbeknownst to everyone, Jane’s real lover was actually the late Mr. Fairlie.
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