The Bet

The Bet Irony

The banker's financial misfortune (dramatic irony)

It is ironic that the banker, who once capriciously bet the two million, later in the book comes to value them very highly. He initially tells the lawyer that "To me two millions are a trifle" (8); in contrast, at the time of the bet's conclusion, the narrator notes, "Fifteen years before, his millions had been beyond his reckoning; now he was afraid to ask himself which were greater, his debts or his assets" (12).

Rejection of the social realm (situational irony)

It is ironic that after years of confinement, the lawyer, instead of missing the company of humans and rejoicing in their presence once he is free, has come to despise them. As he writes in his final message, "I despise your books, I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive like a mirage" (16).

Fleeing Five Hours Before (dramatic irony)

It is ironic that the lawyer, after spending fifteen years in confinement, decides to flee and renounce his claim to the millions just five hours before he would have won the bt. He has spent all this time proving his principle, only to deny himself the reward. He explains himself in this way: "To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two millions of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise" (17) Once again, he is acting on principle and depriving himself to prove it.

The irony of age

The banker initially is jealous of the lawyer when he is about to be released. He thinks that the lawyer will still have his youth and vigor, plus the 2 million that the banker is bound to give him. The banker does not realize that cruelly, the lawyer looks much more ancient than his 40 years. His frame and body are skeletal and gray (14).