Irony Moll Flanders

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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I love but hate, I laugh without a smile, I am ridiculous and respected, hypocrite and honest, a nonsense with reason , a convict and a gentleman. Isn't that the world we live in ? He is using a subtle form of humour by saying things that he does not mean. This situation is odd or amusing because it involves a contrast. Irony kills, laughs, denounces, argues but is hidden behind words to look not so politically incorrect. Daniel Defoe was one of those who wanted to denounce society's incongruities. He used his character, Moll Flanders, as an archetype of 18th century England society depicting the cruelty and the immorality of the time. In this autobiography (the novel is written in the first person) Moll's life seems to be fill of contrasts and ironic situations, but is that not interpretation? This essay will discuss the irony in the novel Moll Flanders taking examples from the book to prove whether or not it should be considered as a ironic novel.

Let's have a look at the interpretations that one may have.

As a preliminary, it must be noted that Moll has a basically bipartie structure, the first part containing Moll's sexual adventures, the second her life as a thief, her imprisonment, and her transportation to America. The difference here, however, is that Defoe has effected an organic rather than a merely schematic relationship between the two halves. The episode of the two brothers, an episode which is crucial to our understanding of the novel's irony. Moll is seduced by the elder brother of the family in which she is a maid, then is persuaded by him to marry Robin, the younger brother, who loves her and proposed to her. She is a bewildered, passive object in the centre of the...