Irony in Maupassant's The Necklace
Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" is 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 can not come to
terms with her position in the middle class. Although she knows she can not
escape her class, she refuses to accept it gracefully. It is through Matilde
that Maupassant develops the story's irony. This is reflected through
Matilde's daydreaming, which only serves to torment her, the loss of the
necklace borrowed for show, which only worsens their economic position, and
finally, their unnecessary sacrifice.
The irony begins with Matilde's frequent daydreaming. She is a beautiful
and charming woman who feels "herself destined for all delicacies and luxuries"
(4). 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 "large silent anterooms, expensive silks and of
achievement and fame that would make her the envy of all other women" (4). 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 does not
have rather than what she does have.
Contributing to the irony is the borrowed necklace. Matilde's husband
brings a coveted dinner invitation home, and her first reaction is concern for