Situational Irony in the Necklace by Guy De Maupassant

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Situational Irony in the Necklace by Guy De Maupassant

This essay will analyze the use of situational irony in Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace.” It will discuss how the irony in the story contributes to its moral lesson about vanity, materialism, and the consequences of deception. The piece will explore the impact of the story’s twist ending. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about Fiction.

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Have you ever tried to cover something up, such as losing something that belongs to someone else? In the ironic story “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, the main protagonist does just that. She borrowed a necklace from an old friend so that she could go to the gala. She did this because she didn’t want to look poor and wanted to stand out among all of the other rich, well-dressed people at the party. At the end of the night, she realized the necklace was no longer around her neck.

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She tries to cover her mistake by telling her friend that the clasp on the necklace has been broken and that she is having it mended, giving her more time to find the lost necklace or a replacement for it.

The Pinnacle of Situational Irony in “The Necklace”

There is plenty of Irony to be found in de Maupassant’s work. One example of situational Irony is, “I think I can manage it with four hundred francs” (Maupassant 2). What’s ironic about this? Mathilde had asked her husband Loisel for a dress so that she could go to the gala. The dress would cost roughly four hundred francs, the same amount he had been planning to save for a gun with which to go hunting.

Another example, “Why, my necklace was paste. It was worth at most five hundred francs” (Maupassant 6), shows more situational Irony in having to pay back the tremendous sum of money, thirty-six thousand francs to be exact, only to realize that the original was little more than five hundred francs. They had borrowed money, used their inheritance, and even sold their house to pay for the replacement. They became extremely poor and had to work long hours just to scrape up enough money to get by.

The ultimate Irony (dramatic Irony), “Oh, my poor Mathilde! How you are changed!” (Maupassant 5), shows how being in debt from all of the payments has changed their entire way of life. Mathilde started out poor, and the cost of pretending to be rich for the evening was costly. Because she didn’t say anything to her friend, she ended up becoming even poorer. Even Mathilde’s friend could not recognize her, as she looked to be a “plain good wife” (Maupassant 5) standing before her. An example that supports this Irony is, “You can understand that it was not easy for us, us who had nothing” (Maupassant 6).


In conclusion, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant is a solid example of Irony in literature. The author did well in implementing Irony into his story, and without it, it may be less memorable, but the main thing that makes this story so memorable is the shock of how ironic the ending is. Finding out that her ten years of hardship could’ve been avoided had she told her friend the truth.


  1. “The Necklace: A Novel” by Claire McMillan 

  2. “Maupassant’s The Necklace: A Student Guide” by Jody Passanisi 

  3. “The Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant: “The Necklace” and Other Tales” edited by Stanley Appelbaum

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Situational Irony in the Necklace by Guy de Maupassant. (2023, Sep 02). Retrieved from