A comedic work of literature is often just one that was meant as pure enjoyment for the reader. Other times, comedy is meant to shed light on a serious situation or instance the public refuses or is uncomfortable talking about in a non-comedic setting. However, the greatest type of comedy is one that makes the reader think, one that provokes “thoughtful laughter” from them. “The Importance of Being Earnest”, a satirical play written during Victorian Era Britain by Oscar Wilde, is such a piece literature. By poking fun at the time period in which his characters live in during one particular scene, as well as illustrating the unsubdued hilarity of a character during that scene, Wilde is able to elicit thoughtful laughter from his audience, ultimately showing them that life is far too serious and needs to be taken more lightly.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, premiered in London in 1895 when Wilde was in the peak of his career. During this time of the Victorian Era, society was very moral and chaste, at least on the surface. There was a very specific code of behavior that governed almost everything, but focused mainly on the topic of marriage. This affected Wilde first-hand as he was married to a woman but also involved with men which was forbidden at the time. Using the themes of dualism and marriage, Wilde is trying to show the audience the ridiculous nature of Victorian society. Through the reoccurring theme of dualism, Oscar Wilde uses sizable amounts of satire to not only mock the trivial Victorian society, but more specifically to ridicule
One might believe that honesty is one of the building blocks of a society and is what initiates trust between people; furthermore, the Victorian era was a time period in British history where rules and morals appeared to be strict. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, a nineteenth century author who was one of the most acclaimed playwrights of his day, is a play set in the Victorian time period that demonstrates how trivial telling the truth was. Different characters throughout Wilde’s play establish their dishonestly through hiding who they really are and pretending to be someone whom they are not. In an essay titled “From ‘Oscar Wilde’s Game of Being Earnest,’” Tirthankar Bose describes the characters from The Importance of Being Earnest as playing games with one another, which is a result of the deceit that was present in the play. Although the Victorian time period is a time characterized by strong morals and values, The Importance of Being Earnest proves this notion to not apply to telling the truth and ultimately questions why truth is not valued in the Victorian time period amongst other strictly upheld values. Honesty is not valued throughout the play because some of the characters felt to need to appear as if they represented the strict morals that were common throughout the time period.
In the play, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, there is a lot of humor that can be found. Specifically, developed behind the characters in this play that display many instances of irony and how important it was to fit into the “status quo” of this time period. There are specific behaviors from the characters of Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen, and Algernon that portray Wilde’s opinion of society during the Victorian Age. The attitude of these characters is snobbish and their manners display double standards and superiority. The play’s use of mockery and irony of these satirical situations is meant to publicly ridicule the self- loving attitude of the upper class while exposing their true absence of intelligence which causes their absurd social behaviors
The life of the Victorian people was a time in which people were prude because of their repression. Many of the people of that time had a lot of pent-up emotions, there was a time and a place for something and it solemn did any good for anyone, depending on your class you had to have a curtain way of carrying yourself, many of which was not the must enjoyable of ways and lacked some fun that many need in their life. This forced many to split their Public life from the Private one. Written in the Victorian Era, the works of The importance of being earnest by Oscar Wilde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ,and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley displays how
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
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’.
In The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde revealed that animalistic traits can tint a character’s intellectual attributes. All of the characters possess an overwhelming desire which seems to diminish their morality. Wilde uses Jack Worthing’s animalistic behaviors to reveal that his animal self is damaging his intellectual self. The play is presented to show that the characters retain an exaggerated pleasure with food, which shows their pleasures in inanimate objects. Every character in the play is drawn into lustful relationships, thus mutilating their psychological self. By embracing their animalistic traits the characters in The Importance of Being Earnest begin to blemish their intellectual character which inhibits their overall
It is a well known phenomenon that many authors' lives are reflected through a character in their work. In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, the double life, or double identity, can be seen as the central metaphor in the play, epitomized in Algernon's creation of "Bunbury" or "Bunburying". As this term is the only fictitious word employed throughout the text, it is crucial to critically analyze not only its use and implications, but more importantly, the character who coins the term; Algernon Moncrieff. In addition, it is also significant to note the marked differences between Algernon and Jack's perceptions of the notion of bunburying, as it further develops Algernon's character within the text. But perhaps the single most
The Importance of Being Earnest appears to be a conventional 19th century farce. False identities, prohibited engagements, domineering mothers, lost children are typical of almost every farce. However, this is only on the surface in Wilde's play. His parody works at two levels- on the one hand he ridicules the manners of the high society and on the other he satirises the human condition in general. The characters in The Importance of Being Earnest assume false identities in order to achieve their goals but do not interfere with the others' lives. The double life led by Algernon, Jack, and Cecily (through her diary) is simply another means by which they liberate
Gender identity and its roles in 17th and 19th century England were regarded as rigid fact — definite and unyielding. The adherence to these social protocols was of utmost importance. Masculinity was viewed as being dominant, assertive, and bold, whereas femininity involved beauty, obedience, and chastity. The theatre became a method of challenging this rigid social concept. Both William Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest explore these public values through their characters. Wilde and Shakespeare’s use of gender reversals satirize the traditions of social order, marriage, and gender responsibilities at the time, thereby revealing that gender is not absolute.
Webster's dictionary defines earnest as “characterized by or proceeding from an intense and serious state of mind". Which can be considered a pun since thought this play we see the characters being more apathetic. The Importance of Being Earnest is the story of Jack Worthing is the main character and the protagonist of this play. He is a well of business man who lives in the country and is very well respected there. But Jack has a secret he lives another in the city of London where he claims to go to take care of an irresponsible little brother named Earnest. There he meets a friend Algernon Moncrieff a person who also has created a person named Mr. Bunbury who he goes to the city to see because of him being on his deathbed. Through these
A satire is a genre of literature that uses humour, irony, and/or exaggeration to criticize or show a character’s stupidity or vices. In this case, the literature is a play by Oscar Wilde. The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedic, satirical play that shows ridicule and mockery of the characters through the use of repetitions and parallels to ultimately show the real meaning of being earnest. Wilde’s play is a satirical play because two important characters named Algernon and Jack are living double lives under the same identity. The two characters live double lives in order to escape from reality and live life with no responsibilities. Although, in the end the two characters are caught and live more fulfilling lives under their christian names. This act of living a double life is a repetition presented throughout the play. Another action that is in the play which is linked to parallels, is Gwendolen and Cecily. Gwendolen and Cecily are parallels in that they say similar lines throughout the play and they both will only fall in love with a man named Ernest. The last idea that is linked with repetition is the marriage between Algernon and Cecily and the marriage between Jack and Gwendolen. Wilde’s play is a satisfactory example of a satire because of the irony, repetitions, and foils of each character.
Every line, every character, and every stage direction in The Importance of Being Earnest is set on supporting Oscar Wilde’s want for social change. The Importance of Being Earnest was written during the late period of the Victorian era. During this period social classification was taken very seriously. It could affect working and living conditions, education, religion, and marriage. Wilde explores the issues of social class and turns it into a comedic play. He humorously criticizes Victorian manners and attacking the society of the luxurious life. The audience becomes self-aware as the characters reflect on themselves. Plays such as this become successful because of the backgrounds the writers come from and the experiences they have had.
In the play, “The Importance of being Earnest,” Jack and Algernon use deception to live two separate lives and avoid what they believe to be unpleasant situations. Jack creates his brother “Ernest,” so that he can leave the country, where he is guardian over Cecily, when he wishes to visit the city. Algernon creates his friend “Bunbury,” so that he can leave the city when he does not care to participate in family dining and activities. The play also has a few other characters that live a life with a secret past, that play an important role in the ending. Although Jack and Algernon use deception to live a separate life outside of their normal life, they use it to win the hearts and become engaged to their loves. What about other characters’ deception?