Nausea Irony

Comments on portraits (Dramatic Irony)

Dramatic irony occurs as the bourgeois couple in the portrait gallery makes comments on the art. When they say things like, “that’s history,” Sartre has subtly allowed readers to understand that their statements are ludicrous, especially when understood in the context of Antoine’s musings on history.

Good-bye! (Verbal Irony)

As Antoine leaves the portrait gallery, he is uncharacteristically jovial, saying to the other gallery-goers, “Farewell, beautiful lilies, elegant in your painted little sanctuaries, good-bye, lovely lilies, our pride and reason for existing, good-bye you bastards!” When Antoine describes the business leaders as “lovely lilies” and “our pride and reason for existing,” he’s using a sharp verbal irony to show his disgust for the men; he really thinks they’re bastards.

Anny and Antoine's discoveries (Situational Irony)

When Anny and Antoine meet, they have strangely come to similar conclusions, despite being apart for many years. This is an instance of situational irony, as it seems entirely improbable that they would have been thinking about the same issues and have had similar thoughts about existence. And yet, as both Anny and Antoine monologue, readers feel as if they’ve been working together to come to these conclusions.

"I live alone, entirely alone." (Dramatic Irony)

When Antoine describes his solitariness, Sartre’s use of stream-of-consciousness allows us to see a subtle form of dramatic irony. Antoine’s insistence that he is alone becomes slightly comical when the phrase “The Self-Taught Man doesn’t count” slips in. Even further, the remainder of the novels shows that Antoine is actually very rarely truly alone. We know that he’s around others, constantly, but he won’t acknowledge it.