Irony plays a crucial role in the story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It emphasizes how the course of treatment chosen by the narrator`s husband aggravates her condition. It also increases the reader`s engagement and facilitates sympathy for the main character.
The narrator starts to show signs of a mental illness that looks like depression. Her husband, John, is a physician. He designs a course of treatment. According to it, any work is prohibited. But the narrator believes that a fascinating occupation would help to combat her illness.
The treatment of her husband harms her mental health and leads to insanity. The conflict between what she needs and what John prescribed is the situational irony. It shows how his care had the opposite effect from the one intended.
The contrast between what the reader can see and what the characters know creates dramatic irony. The narrator claims that her anger with John is irrational. But the reader understands that his actions worsen her illness. Besides, she says that her condition is light. But her mental state is low.
These examples of irony are essential. The impact they have on the reader allows them to empathize with the character. It shows how unaware the character is of her misfortune.