To what extent do you think The Importance of Being Earnest is only a comedy of manners?

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The importance of Being Earnest is a comedy of manners, as it explores codes of upper and middle class society. For example,"I don't play accurately - any one can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression.". However, The Importance of Being Earnest has other types of comedy, such as, comedy of humours and farce. Comedy of humours focuses on a character of range of characters, who have an over riding trait or humour that dominates their personality. For example, Algernon’s greed. Farce is a dramatic comedy that creates humour through a series of ludicrous events taking place in rapid succession. For example, Cecily andGwendolyn fighting over the same man who doesn’t exist, followed by a baptism that isn’t needed.

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This exposes the upper class’ norms and values, as they downgrade religion as no real importance. Also, theological concepts such as sin, atonement and redemption are reduced to Cecily’s belief that Jack and Algy “have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance”. This shows that, Cecily believes that eating muffins has a religious meaning, which is completely poposterous, and also shows that the hypocricy show no values whatsoever toward religion.

On the other hand, the Importance of Being Earnest is not only a comedy of manners, as it is also a comedy of humours. Algernon’s greed is portrayed as his overriding trait which dominates his personality, “Eating is the only thing that consoles me”. Here, Algy’s greed is made out to simply consolidate his grief or disappointment. However, we begin to see that Algernon is very self-absorbed which can lead to selfishness which led to Wilde to discuss Victorian repression and guilt. Eequally, Lady Bracknell shows similar traits of selfishness and is very much self-absorbed, but unlike Algy, Lady Bracknell being a woman seems to hold the power. For example, “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two both looks like carelessness”. Here, Lady Bracknell stretches out her opinions on death, and immediately downsizes Jack to be careless, making anything she says far superior to that of Jack’s words. Furthermore, characters like Cecily and

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