Characters' Journey from Turmoil to Happiness in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde
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It has been said that ‘comedy, beginning in turmoil but ending in harmony, celebrates life.’ This relates well to ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ where Wilde proves that this comedy of manners does conform to this model since it traces the movement from distress to happiness. In this comedy of manners there is a movement from distress to happiness, even though some characters such as Algernon do not learn any lessons and stays ‘bad’.
The character of Jack is presented as a questionable character as we don’t know if he has learnt anything seeing that he didn’t have to repent since Wilde constructed the ending in a way where he was called Earnest. As Jack has lied to get what he wants we see that he has been given faults. Here Jocelyn Powell’s explanation that comedy is seen as ‘comedy of criticism’ is not proven since there is doubt as to which category Jack belongs to because he is presented as a good character who has faults and a bad character that can be virtuous. Therefore, Jack can be seen as a hero and a villain. However, through Powell’s explanation of ‘comedy of experience’ , Jack can be seen as complex character because his behaviour and attitude is constantly modifying the angle that he is seen from. Hence, this indicates that Jack doesn’t belong to a specific category as they cannot be labelled as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In Act 1 as he proposes to Gwendolyn and has ‘come up to town expressly’ to do so, he is seen as a character that has a good intention