The Dichotomy of Honesty in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

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Oscar Wilde's, "The Importance of Being Earnest" revolves around the dichotomy of the true definition of honesty versus the victorian definition of honesty. It is apparent that Wilde's opinion is that true honesty is expressed through being genuine to one's self as opposed to putting on a front as is important in victorian ideals. In this work, Wilde uses humor to off-set the seriousness of the theme of the story. One who has studied this work can also clearly see that Wilde is using sarcasm to say things that would not have been accepted by society if they were said bluntly. For example he exemplifies in a very sarcastic manner the hypocracy that victorian society represents by the very fact that they pretend to uphold honesty above all …show more content…
The main character of Wilde's story, Jack Worthing creates an elaborate deceit in which he invents a brother in the city but also reinvents his entire self. He created his fake brother to get away from the country and go live a more exciting life in the city. However, his deceitfulness leads to him being completly honest with himself, and finding a true love. Something genuine. There one would see the dichotomy in Jack, or as he's known in the city, Ernest.

Algernon Moncreiff on the other hand, lied to get to the coutnry so he could find something more genuine as opposed to the false honesty of the city. Again, one sees the same dichotomy as one would see in Jack. Alge lied to get to Cecily, his true love, which again is genuine. Cecily Cardew has a dichotomous personality as well. On the outside, Cecily appears to be innotcent and very victorian like, which represents the victorian dewfinitionof honesty. However, if one dug a little deeper, they would see that Cecily is much like a female version of a dandy. She has wicked thoughts, which represent her genuine, truly honest self.

Miss Prism also represents the dichotomy and somewhat relates to Cecily. In the fact that she acts in the manner a respectable victorian woman should, she is secretly (or so she thinks, though it is apparent to others) buring with passion for Rev. Chasuble. While around him she acts mannerly and as if she has no intrest in
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