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Tropes used in Iolanthe include:
- Blue Blood: All the peers.
- 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.
- British Royal Guards: Private Willis is one of these, and he sings a solo while no one's looking.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Fairy Queen's response to the Peers' intransigence
Fairy Queen: Peers shall teem in Christendom/and a Duke's exalted station/Be attainable by Competitive Examination!
- The Fair Folk: The fairies, of course.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The half-fairy Strephon, the romantic lead. His top half is an immortal fairy, but below the waist he'll eventually grow old.
- Have a Gay Old Time: "Tripping hither, tripping thither!"
- A Fairy member - how delightful! Not really though - she's talking about Parliament.
- "I Am" Song: This is Gilbert and Sullivan, what did you expect?
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The Lord Chancellor is Strephon's father
- Not What It Looks Like: Strephon's mother looks about 17. His fiance catches the two of them embracing. Oops.
- Patter Song: The Nightmare Song, easily the toughest such song in the whole canon.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder: ditto ditto the above.
- Straw Man Has a Point: Sullivan somehow made Gilbert's straw man arguments in Earl Tolloller's Blue Blood and Lord Mountararat When Britain Really ruled The Waves sound like they made sense.
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