The use of irony and personification are techniques that writers often use that may take only a few paragraphs or 5 pages to describe. An event that is frequently used in these short stories to these two methods is death. "The Pardoners Tale", "The Masque of the Red Death", and "Appointment in Samarra" are all examples of when an author uses death to fill the reader with wonder and surprise. In the short story "The Pardoners Tale" by Chaucer, there were three men who were filled with immorality, and thrived on cursing, drinking and gambling. They were told of a man by the name of Death who was terrorizing the countryside and murdering great amounts of people. When the gamblers heard of this they promised to end this mans terror and kill him.
They went searching and in their journey they came upon a great amount of gold. At that point they manufactured a plan so that they could keep the money without anyone noticing that they had come upon such a great wealth. So they drew straws and the gambler with the shortest straw was to go into the town and make sure everything was alright. The man left and the other two that stayed with the gold decided that they were going to kill their friend that had went into town, therefore they could split his share equally. At this same time the man in the town was buying poison to distribute to his partners so they would die and he could take their gold.
The short story ends with the one many being killed by his friends and them drinking the poison unknowingly. It shows irony with all three men deciding to kill each other and the personification is the death in the form of a murderer. Also one might see the gold as the murderer that caused greed and took their lives. The second short story "Appointment in Samarra" by Somerset Maugham was a very brief work of literature but it still relayed a sense of irony. In the story, a man is sent to Baghdad t get food and supplies for the merchant he worked for.
When the man returned he was in a very scared state. He said that he saw Death in the form of a woman in the marketplace. He said that he was going to Sammara, and he believed in Sammara death would not be able to find him. The merchant found this intriguing and he then went to the marketplace to find death and ask why she scared his servant. So he found her and Death responded by saying that she did not mean to scare him because she was supposed to meet with him in Sammara that night. Irony is very much a part of this story because one doesn't ever think that where the man went to be safe is where he will meet his demise.
Also the personification is the same as it is in "The Pardoners Tale". A third and final story is "The Mask of the Red Death" by Edgar Allen Poe. In thei story the Red Death is killing millions in Europe and many are secluding themselves in their homes in hopes that the Red Death will not find them. So one man by the name of Prince Prospero along with some others lock themselves in his castle. They are killed by the death even though there is no way of anything getting to them. In this story the reader thinks that there is no way Prospero will die but yet he does and no one knows why.
All three of these stories show Irony in different ways. Although they are in different forms the Irony still draws the interest of the reader.