Irony plays a crucial role in the story by Charlotte Perkins Gillman. It emphasizes how the course of treatment chosen by the narrator’s husband only worsens her condition. It also increases the reader’s engagement and facilitates sympathy for the main character.
The narrator is the main character of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman. Her husband, John, is a physician. When she starts to show signs of a mental illness resembling depression, he designs a course of treatment. According to it, any kind of work is not allowed. The narrator herself believes that an engaging occupation would help her to combat her illness.
Indeed, the treatment of her husband has an adverse effect on her mental health resulting in insanity. The conflict between what she needs and what has been prescribed is the main situational irony of the story. It shows how his care had the opposite effect from the one intended.
There is also a dramatic irony in the story. It lies in the contrast between what the reader and what the characters can see. For example, the narrator claims that her anger with John is wrong. The reader is able to perceive that his actions are actually what exacerbates her illness. Also, she once refers to her state as not serious while it is clear that her mental state is getting worse.
These examples of dramatic irony are important because of the impact they have on the reader. They help to emphasize the character better and to see how unaware she is of her fate.