Theme Of The Necklace And The Sniper

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“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a time-honored proverb. Unfortunately for the characters in “The Necklace” and “The Sniper,” it is also an important thing to keep in mind when making decisions. In the short stories “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant and “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty, the authors use situational irony, dynamic characters, and suspense to develop a similar theme, in order to show that even with benevolent intentions, acting blindly often has negative consequences.
Situational irony in the two short stories helps to turn ignorant decisions the characters made into unintended repercussions. Both stories have ironic ending lines that define the authors’ true theme. In the case of “The Sniper,” the irony comes when the protagonist goes to examine the body of the man he has just shot. When he arrived “The sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face” (O’Flaherty 349). The sniper fought for a cause he believed would make his world better, but instead ended up unknowingly shooting his brother. The sniper acted without knowing for sure what he would affect, but he believed he was doing the right thing, which ended in tragedy. The irony in “The Necklace” comes when Madame Loisel approaches Madame Forestier and explains how awful her life had become because of paying off the debt for the diamond necklace Madame Forestier had loaned her. Madame Forestier responds, “‘You say that you bought a diamond necklace to replace mine?’ ‘Yes; you didn't notice then? They were very similar.’ And she smiled with proud and innocent pleasure. Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took both her hands. ‘Oh, my poor Mathilde! Mine was an imitation! It was worth five hundred francs at most! …’” (Maupassant 233). After changing her lifestyle and working years to pay off an unimaginable debt, Madame Loisel learns that it could have been avoided if she hadn’t lied to Madame Forestier. If she had actively searched for the truth instead of trying to save face and spare Madame Forestier’s feelings, she could have avoided making a decision that had made her life much harder. Irony in both situations created harrowing situations for the main characters, which reinforced the theme.

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