Mrs. Mallard’s heart trouble is ironically designed in the story. The first sentence of the story tells that she “was afflicted with a heart trouble. ” Readers tended to assume that she’s weak physically. But after reading the whole story, we realized that she was also weak emotionally. According to the doctors’ judgment, the “joy” of seeing her husband killed the poor woman. But actually, just sensing the hope of getting freedom but soon disillusioning made her collapsed. Thus, the heart trouble is ironically designed. The writer gives quite a few clues related to Mrs. Mallard’s heart trouble.
When she was informed about her husband’s death, “she wept at once”. Unlike the other contemporary women who could not believe it, she accepted the fact immediately. It’s the beginning of her change. Alone in her room, she looked out of the window and saw the “new spring life” outside. She sensed “something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully” and tried to “beat it back with her will” as “her bosom rose and fell tumultuously”. A whispered word “escaped” her lips when she “abandoned” herself: “Free! ” At this moment, “her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body. She was cheered up by the coming freedom and became excited. She recalled the life with her husband, which was “fixed with gray and dead”. And she began to imagine the days ahead of her, in which “she would live for herself” absolutely. She put off her sister Josephine’s “imploring” and “her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her”. She became optimistic and even over-excited. “There was a feverish triumph in her eyes,” A new woman, with freedom and hope was born, “like a goddess of Victory” At this stage, she thought she could grab the freedom, which triggered her heart trouble.
Her pulses beat fast, the blood ran riot throughout her body and she was feverish. These changes hinted that her heart might not bear this “joy”. Mr. Mallard’s reappearance ended the story with “a monstrous joy”. Mrs. Mallard died of heart disease. It’s an ironic ending because the heart trouble was surmised at the beginning of the story. The doctors’ diagnosis was correct technically—-she did die “of joy that kills”. But to make it precise, she died of finding the freedom and hope then suddenly losing it.