Desire Under the Elms

Desire Under the Elms Irony

The identity of the baby's father (dramatic irony)

The scene in which all of the townspeople and the fiddler make comments about the fact that the baby is Eben's, not Ephraim's, is ironic, as Ephraim is the only one who does not know and cannot see.

Eben's relationship to his father (situational irony)

It is ironic that Eben professes to hate his father, but is driven to take all of his father's women as well as possess that land on which he worked his entire life.

The Sheriff's desire for the farm (situational irony)

The Sheriff's glib comment about wanting to own the farm is profoundly ironic; for that farm, people have lusted, fought, schemed, and murdered.

Abbie killing the child (dramatic irony)

There is irony in Abbie's misunderstanding of Eben's words during their fight, which leads her to kill the child. There are also brief moments of irony when Eben thinks she is talking about having killed Cabot, but actually means their child.