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King Lear by W. Shakespeare and A Brave New World by A. Huxley

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In King Lear, just after being banished, Cordelia gets a proposal of marriage from the King of France, who says “Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor/ most choice, forsaken, and most loved, despised/Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon. /be it lawful I take up what’s cast away. ” (I. i. 253-255). The King of France has his own palace and the people of France and is in a better position than the Cornwall or Albany, who marry Regan and Goneril. Cordeila got the better end of the bargain, even though her father threw her out with nothing.

In A Brave New World, there is more situational irony. First, even though science and scientific research has brought the society to the point they are now at, science is banned. Mustapha tells John, “every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated an enemy” (Huxley 356). If the society had not had science, they would not have been able to start genetically producing babies. In addition, sex, an act that could cause babies to be born, is regarded as a “game” (Huxley 48).

Children are encouraged to play this “game” (Huxley 48). It is almost terrible to see the irony in it, because even children as young as seven are considered “charming” when playing it (Huxley 48). Characters in this story are also examples of situational irony, including Linda. She tells John about the world that she lived in before, and wants to go back, but once she is back, she spends all of her time taking the drug soma (Huxley 239). The doctors give her as much as she wants, even though they know it will kill her, because they only want her out of the way (Huxley 240).

In the end, the only thing Linda has seen of the world that she wanted to return to so badly was a bed, where she could take her soma-trips in peace. Also in A Brave New World is Bernard, who finds his world “very unsatisfactory” (Huxley 244). He also tries to be his own person, in a world that has made everyone the same. He does this mostly by showing emotions, such as when he cries in front of his friend Helmholtz (Huxley 108).

But in the end, when he is sent away to live with people that think like he does on an “island”, he does not want to go (Huxley 358). These characters and situations, in both stories, are ironic because they are not doing what is expected of them, or the results that have happened are different than expected. Finally, there is verbal irony, or irony with the spoken word, when characters speak words that have an opposite meaning or purpose to what they were meant to say.

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