The Moonstone

The Moonstone Irony

The dispute over roses (situational irony)

Sergeant Cuff and Mr. Begbie, Lady Verinder’s gardener, begin and sustain a humorous debate over rose gardening throughout Cuff’s stay at the estate. They argue over whether the dog-rose should first be grafted to the moss-rose or not. The entire argument is seemingly irrelevant. Cuff’s one passion outside of sleuthing seems to be growing roses. A pathetic element exists inside of this ongoing argument, since it points to the absurdity to a lot of human affairs. While this argument seems completely irrelevant to concerned individuals such as Betteredge and Lady Verinder, it harkens back to the subjective nature of the investigation—what is important to some people is not to others, and vice versa.

Miss Clack's narration (dramatic irony)

Miss Drusilla Clack, as a character, is a source of humor and ridiculousness. She delivers the First Narrative of the Second Period, and already Betteredge warns (at the end of his narrative of the First Period) to not believe what she says (especially about other people). Her narration—and commentary on the characters of others—is particularly rich in dramatic irony because readers know how certain characters actually are (Rachel is not a spoiled brat; Godfrey is not a saint; Gabriel is not a godless old man).

Honorable John and remembering his niece's birthday (dramatic irony)

While he is eventually known as “the wicked Colonel,” John Herncastle was once called “Honorable John” before he became corrupt and wicked in India. When he attends one of Rachel’s birthdays and is rejected by his sister, he says, “I shall remember my niece’s birthday” (65). Herncastle obviously means something different when he talked about remembering Rachel’s 18th birthday, and although the statement sounds positive to someone who does not know the family details, it actually means something very negative.

Godfrey's double life (dramatic irony)

Godfrey Ablewhite is a particularly interesting, ironic, and ultimately pathetic character. At the end of the story it is revealed that he was living a double life, and previous contradictions over his character finally make sense. Senseless and seemingly god-fearing people like Miss Clack paint a portrait of him as a saint-like man, and yet from other descriptions (such as Mr. Bruff calling him a “meanly deceitful man”), readers realize that there is more depth to Godfrey. Thus the last reveal is more confirmation than it is revelation.