It is ironic that King Fred named himself "The Fearless" for an action that is not actually that brave: killing a wasp. Indeed, he shows throughout the story that he is actually very fearful and cowardly. When he confronts what he thinks is the Ickabog, he drops his sword and runs away. Lord Spittleworth is able to control the king by capitalizing on the king's fear, which puts the king's citizens in danger.
Daisy Insulting the King (Situational Irony)
Even before Lord Spittleworth starts to throw people in jail for treason, nobody in Cornucopia seems to feel comfortable speaking badly about the king. The social norm is to always praise and cheer for him, and when something bad happens, most people give him the benefit of the doubt. The only person who is brave enough to speak the truth about the king is Daisy, when she calls him "selfish, vain, and cruel." It is ironic that a child is able to speak out about the king's negative qualities when adults, even her father, do not. People usually assume that children are foolish, shy, or narrow-minded, but this story shows that children are able to effect change.
Covering Up Major Beamish's Death (Verbal Irony)
Verbal irony is used in the scene where Lord Spittleworth, Lord Flapoon, and Major roach are discussing covering up Major Beamish's death being caused by Lord Flapoon's gun. Lord Spittleworth first makes a long speech to Major Roach about what supposedly happened, even though they both know it isn't the truth. Their actions in the scene emphasize the verbal irony of the speech, such as Lord Spittleworth handing Major Roach King Fred's sword directly after saying "I believe the priceless sword was his grandfather’s, but I suppose it’s now lost forever in the Ickabog’s lair." Major Roach shows Lord Spittleworth that he understands the plan by using verbal irony in his response, saying "Let’s wrap up the poor Major’s body, because it would be dreadful for the other men to see the marks of the monster’s fangs upon him." The three men all know that there are no marks from an Ickabog on Major Beamish, as does the reader, creating further dramatic irony when the soldiers and the Beamish family ask why they can't see Major Beamish's body.
The Ickabog's Demeanor (Situational Irony)
For the first 50 chapters of the book, the Ickabog is described as a terrifying creature. It is said to snatch sheep, dogs, and humans and eat them. However, when the Ickabog is introduced, it quickly becomes clear that it is a caring, gentle being. It saves the four children from dying in the snow, keeps them warm and fed in the cave, and even tells Daisy the history of the Ickabogs. This is an example of situational irony because it is not what the reader expected to happen. This situational irony teaches readers to not judge people based on their actions rather than stories or rumors about them.
Ickabog Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Ickabog is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.