Gilbert and Sullivan opera set at some indeterminate point in English history poking considerable fun at the House of Lords.
This work provides examples of:
Absurdly Youthful Mother: Fairies are unaging, and Stephron has a hard time explaining to his beloved that these nubile women he is seen embracing are, in fact, his mother and his aunts, all of whom look younger than him.
I wouldn't say a word that could be reckoned as injurious But to find a mother younger than her son is very curious
Arcadia: The "Arcadian Shepherds" trope is parodied mercilessly with Phyllis and Strephon.
Blue Blood: All the peers. Lord Tolloler even gets a song about it, "Spurn Not the Nobly Born."
Blessed with Suck: Strephon who is half a fairy. He's a fairy down to the waist, but his legs are mortal, and will eventually grow old and die.
The Lord Chancellor's old job as "Equity Draughtsman"note Draftsman in modern American English; pronounced identically is parodied: in equity, a document may have to be redrafted to reflect as much of the authors' intent as possible, while making it consistent with law, justice, or public policy. His single-word proposed alteration of fairy law completely reverses the meaning and intent of the law.
Friend Versus Lover: Tolloler and Mountararat are torn between their friendship and their unrequited love triangle with Phyllis.
Almost leads to a Cock Fight between the two friends, until Phyllis reminds them of what's important and what's not.
His monologue wondering what will happen as he grows older and only half of him ages is also full of this, to the point that it's not even all that hidden in terms of what precisely he's worried about.
Mood Whiplash: the second half of Act 2. The Lord Chancellor sings a gloomy recitative which leads into the surreal Nightmare Song. He, Tolloller and Mountararat then have a funny dialogue and an upbeat song. Then Strephon enters "in low spirits" (the whiplash is even more pronounced if his darkly satirical Cut Song is included) but then reconciles with Phyllis and they sing a happy duet. They ask Iolanthe to persuade the Lord Chancellor to let them marry.
The Mood Whiplash reaches its ultimate with a totally non-comicTear Jerker scene absolutely Played for Drama: Iolanthe reveals to Strephon and Phyllis that she married the Lord Chancellor years ago, but now must never see again on pain of death. The Lord Chancellor enters, determined to marry Phyllis. Iolanthe pleads with him incognito in a beautiful, heart-rending song, reminding him of his own dead wife from his youth. After momentary indecision, he steels himself and informs this unknown lady that Phyllis is his own promised bride. Iolanthe reveals herself, determined to sacrifice her life for his son's happiness — and possibly because of her own jealousy. The Fairy Queen enters to execute her. Then the whole thing is resolved with a typically ridiculous G&S happy ending.
Sullivan may have been "inspired" to compose for that scene by his mother's death that year.
Murphy's Bed: The Lord Chancellor's nightmare provides the page quote.
Purple Prose: Satirized in this particularly purpurescent speech:
Strephon: My Lord, I know no Courts of Chancery; I go by Nature's Acts of Parliament. The bees — the breeze — the seas — the rooks — the brooks — the gales — the vales — the fountains and the mountains cry, "You love this maiden — take her, we command you!" 'Tis writ in heaven by the bright barbed dart that leaps forth into lurid light from each grim thundercloud. The very rain pours forth her sad and sodden sympathy! When chorused Nature bids me take my love, shall I reply, "Nay, but a certain Chancellor forbids it"? Sir, you are England's Lord High Chancellor, but are you Chancellor of birds and trees, King of the winds and Prince of thunderclouds?