The Queen of Spades

The Queen of Spades Irony

Hermann's Ulterior Motive (Dramatic Irony)

From Liza's point of view, the flirtation she pursues with Hermann is innocent and exciting; it seems straight out of one of the romance novels she reads. However, the reader knows Hermann has an ulterior motive: gaining access to the Countess through Liza. In this instance of dramatic irony, the plot builds tension through the fact that the reader holds vital knowledge of which Liza is ignorant.

Ordered to Divulge the Secret (Situational Irony)

Even though Hermann is responsible for the Countess's sudden death, her ghost visits him to divulge her secret card sequence. In an instance of situational irony, it seems she has been ordered by an unknown authority to help the man who killed her. However, it is clear by the end of the story that she was in fact punishing him; the information leads him to go insane.