Irony, satire and humour in Oliver Twist

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Analysis of Dickens' use of irony, satire and humour in Oliver Twist. There are multiple examples throughout Oliver Twist of irony, satire and humour. Although a dark novel, there are many moments of humour and an extraordinary amount of chuckling, giggling and knee-slapping by characters. Each of the literary techniques of humour, irony and satire, employed by Dickens help add focus and depth on the various conflicts between the novels outcasts and its established society. It is impossible to cover all avenues within Oliver Twist that might be considered as humorous, satirical or ironic but some of the more obvious and important examples of each will now be discussed. There is ambiguous humour in conflicts between the institution and…show more content…
Another example of laughter in Oliver Twist is in the naming of the characters; ‘Master Charles Bates’, often referred to as ‘Master Bates’ is a very clear pun that is most definitely not lost on the audience. The mere mention of his name evokes a smirk and laughter from the audience. The naming of the character of the Beadle as ‘Mr. Bumble’ is also for comic effect in my opinion. The Oxford English Dictionary defines bumble as to ‘move or act in an awkward or confused manner; speak in a confused or indistinct way.’ Like that of Master. Bates, the image evoked by the name “Bumble” is one of ridicule, a fool or idiot but Mr. Bumbles behaviour throughout the book does not make him a sympathetic foolish character, instead his consistent brutality, viciousness and violent nature lends him to become one of the villains of the story. However his naming by Dickens is not only a source of humour but also of irony. It is ironic that Mr. Bumble is incapable of seeing Oliver’s situation correctly and is easily fooled by those he believes are inferior. Dickens’ Oliver Twist is laden with irony. The opening chapters exemplify this when Oliver cries himself to sleep and Dickens sarcastically exclaims, “What a novel illustration of the tender laws of England! They let the paupers go to

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