Oscar Wilde's Paradoxes

1404 WordsFeb 2, 20186 Pages
Paradox is something containing two statements that are both true but cannot be true at the same time. The type of paradox that Wilde uses is the statement contradicts not itself but common sense. Although paradoxical statements add to the comedy of the play, they are not the only features that provide comic effect: epigrams, puns and incongruity are all features that are important in adding to the comedy. Paradoxical statements are fundamental in adding to the comedy of the play as they shape our views of the characters and society. Lady Bracknell, for example, states “To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness”. Wilde’s choices of words are very telling about Lady Bracknell, because she deems losing a parent as a “misfortune”, when in fact it’s a heart-breaking, life changing event. She then goes on to rub salt in the wound by saying that losing both parents, an even worse tragedy, is “carelessness” on the child’s part. Carelessness can be defined as “the lack of awareness during a behavior that results in the unintentional production of alternate consequence” , which means Lady Bracknell thinks Jack neglected his parents, resulting in their loss/death, which is a completely senseless thing to say. Her personality is depicted by Wilde’s choice in words, and this forms an image of the character that is humorous due to her absurdity. Her views are jaded because of her need to feel superior to those surrounding
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