The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife Irony

Gavo's Pleasantness (Situational Irony)

It would be natural to expect that Gavo, the Deathless Man, would be a disillusioned and bitter character. After all, he is in constant contact with the dead and dying, has lost beloved woman, and has been cursed by his uncle. Instead, Gavo is remarkably pleasant and courteous: he bears no malice even towards people who have attempted to kill him. Natalia's grandfather, who is often on edge during his exchanges with Gavo, in fact serves as an ironic foil to the easygoing Deathless Man.

Mica's Approval (Situational Irony)

During their medical studies, Natalia and Zora must win the favor of Mica the Cleaver, an administrator in charge of portioning out cadavers for study. Ultimately, they work their way into Mica's good graces by doing something illegal: smuggling the skulls of the Magnificent Fedrizzi. Breaking the rules in a dramatic way can be as much a key to success as following the rules in a productive fashion.

The Blacksmith's Courage (Dramatic Irony)

After Jovo and Luka return from hunting the tiger, they praise the courage and daring of the blacksmith. In fact, though, the blacksmith had been anxious about the hunt, and died because he shot himself in the face (not because he did anything especially heroic). This is one of the novel's strongest examples of dramatic irony: the reader and the two men who survived the hunt know what really happened, but the people of Galina receive a different (and apparently inaccurate) version of the story.

Luka's Return (Irony)

As a boy, Luka wants to escape his coarse father, Korcul, and become an inspired musician. Despite great efforts, Luka eventually returns to his hometown of Galina--where he both takes over his father's role in the town and takes on some of his father's characteristics. Korcul is a gruff butcher who attempts to rape the Tiger's Wife; if anything, Luka becomes more unpleasant in temperament and more violent towards the deaf-mute girl.