Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Accidental Death of an Anarchist Irony

Irony for satire

The Maniac uses irony throughout the play to satirize the official accounts of the anarchist's death given by the police. For instance, he points out the logical inconsistency of having a window wide open at midnight in December by saying the sun must not have set that evening. Similarly, he tries to reconcile the constable's account of having held onto one of the anarchist's shoes with witnesses' reports that the anarchist was wearing two shoes when he hit the pavement by asking if he were perhaps a triped. 

Lying to reveal the truth

Since the Maniac's objective is to reveal the truth, it is ironic that he does so by lying, about both his identity and his intentions. He lies, too, about the trouble the Superintendent and the Inspector are in, leading them to actually consider jumping to their death out the window just as their own lies could have led the anarchist to commit suicide. 

The Maniac's scandal

Several of the most powerful examples of situational irony occur as the play reaches its climax. The Maniac tells the others that he has recorded all of their conversations and will distribute the tape to political institutions and the media, thereby revealing the truth and causing a great scandal; yet moments earlier, he lectured at length on the uselessness of scandals for bringing about real change. Even more ironically, his surprise exit out the window at the end of the play causes the Journalist to rethink her prior opinion about the policemen's culpability in the anarchist's death. Thus, he succeeds at revealing the truth only to send the message that such a revelation does not guarantee the truth will be believed, nor that it will necessarily lead to positive change.