Throughout Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace," irony is used to add to the story. There are many obvious cases of irony in this story, three of which will be discussed. This story is a situational irony written in 1884. The story was written in a time when there were very distinct social classes, primarily determined by one's birth. It is about a woman who cannot come to terms with her position in the middle class. Although she knows she cannot escape her class, she refuses to accept it gracefully. It is through Matilde that Maupassant develops the story's irony.
The irony begins with Matilde's frequent daydreaming. She is a beautiful and charming woman who feels "herself born for all the delicacies and all the luxuries" (976). Fate, however, placed her among the middle class where life was very simple. For her, the only means to a more affluent class was through her imagination.
She dreams of "silent antechambers hung with...whose attention they all desire" (976). What she fails to realize is that these daydreams only make her more dissatisfied with her real life. As a result, she becomes more focused on what she's lacking, materially speaking.
Also contributing to the irony is the necklace. Matilde's husband brings a coveted dinner invitation home, and her first reaction is concern for her appearance. She tells her husband that they cannot possibly go, because she has "Nothing" (977) to wear. Her husband agrees to buy her a new dress, even though he had saved up the money for himself. This, however, is not enough for Matilde; she needs jewelry. She explains that, without jewelry, she will appear "poor among other women who are rich" (978). In her quest to present herself as a wealthy woman, she decides to borrow a...