Roman Fever By Edith Wharton: Irony

965 Words4 Pages
Sarah Tryon Dr. Meadowsong ENGL2101 29 September 2014 Edith Wharton Has a “Roman Fever” and the Only Prescription For It is More Irony An important aspect of any piece of literature is its ability to engage the reader into figuring out the more critical aspects of the story. One of the many ways that Authors assist the reader to take note of important plot elements is through the use of literary devices. Certain devices are used in order to cast a certain appeal towards areas of the plot, such as the use of irony. Irony is where a character’s actions and words are clear to the audience though not necessarily to other characters. In “Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton, the use of irony is one of the main literary devices that drive the plot to…show more content…
Roman Fever, as referenced in the story, is another term for malaria that was quite common to contract those who were out after dark. However, another definition for this term referred to the idea that Roman Fever was the act of contracting lust and passion for someone. What makes this idea ironic is that the character of Alida Slade tricks her friend Grace Ansley into meeting a man after dark in the hopes of Grace catching Roman Fever, the sickness. This idea is stated when Alida says “…I wanted you out of the way, that’s all. Just for a few weeks; just till I was sure of him…I’m glad you destroyed that letter. Of course I never thought you’d die (Wharton 124).” Instead, Grace ends up contracting Roman Fever, the passion for Alida’s fiancé, Delphin, explained when Grace admits she responded to the letter. “But I answered the letter. I told him I’d be there. So he came (Wharton 124).” The irony in this statement is an example of verbal irony, since Alida expects Grace to come down with Roman Fever, but not the one she ends up contracting. By referencing back to the title, this irony allows the reader to be aware of how much of a farce the friendship between Alida and Grace

More about Roman Fever By Edith Wharton: Irony

Open Document