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Irony of the Interlopers Essay

In the story “The Interlopers”, hunters, Ulrich von Gradwitz and his enemy Georg Znaeym, come face to face in Ulrich’s woods. They each have hate in their heart and murder on their mind but nature’s own violence overwhelms them both. They get stuck underneath a fallen beech tree and can’t escape. Both of them have men on their way to help them out but, whose will be the first to arrive? As both men sit and argue with each other, Ulrich decides to be the bigger person and ask for Georg’s friendship. “… I’ve changed my mind. If my men are the first to come you shall be the first to be helped, as though you were my guest. We have quarreled like devils all our lives over this stupid strip of forest, where the trees can’t even stand upright in a breath of wind. Lying here tonight, thinking, I’ve come to think we’ve been rather fools; there are better things in life than getting the better of a boundary dispute.

Neighbor, if you will help me to bury the old quarrel I—I will ask you to be my friend,” Ulrich said. Georg Znaeym accepted his friendship request and agreed to be civil with each other by saying, “…. I would never fire a shot on your land, save when you invited me as a guest; and you should come and shoot with me down in the marshes where the wildfowl are. In all the countryside there are none that could hinder if we willed to make peace. I never thought to have wanted to do other than hate you all my life, but I think I have changed my mind about things too, this last half-hour, and you offered me your wine flask… Ulrich von Gradwitz, I will be your friend.” While in the silence thinking of the changes this reconciliation would bring, Ulrich suspects he sees his men. There are nine to ten figures coming through the woods, but is it what he thinks to be?

The author of this story, Saki, used irony to make a comment about human nature by making the reader believe Ulrich and Georg were going to get rescued while in fact, they weren’t. Saki made the reader suspect that what Ulrich saw in the distance was his men coming to help him and his new friend out from under the tree. In reality, the figures that Ulrich saw were wolves coming to eat the two troubled men. This is ironic because before Ulrich and Georg were friends, they were arguing about whose men will come first and who will be left for dead.

After becoming friends and seeing the wolves, the two men realize they both are being left for dead and neither one of them will be saved. Additionally, in the beginning of the story, Ulrich thinks to himself, “If only on this wild night, in this dark, lone spot, he might come across Georg Znaeym, man to man, with none to witness—that was the wish that was uppermost in his thoughts.” This is ironic because not even two minutes later, he then comes face to face with his enemy behind the trunk of a huge beech tree. This turning point results in both men glaring at each other in silence and suddenly becoming caught under the enormous tree, unable to escape.

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