Dramatic Irony In The Importance Of Being Earnest

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Depending on how the reader and author see it, humour can be interpreted in multiple ways. In both Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, different aspects of irony are implemented to create an entertaining story line. The use of dramatic irony portrays the characters in an irrational and humorous light, through the verbal exchanges among those with alter egos; foolish actions originating from adverse situations; and the implications of dramatic irony in love. In both stories, dramatic irony adds absurd conversations involving mistaken identities to create a type of humor which the audience understands. William Shakespeare’s As You Like It uses dramatic irony when Phebe is flirting with Ganymede,…show more content…
However, the audience knows that Ganymede is Rosalind. Phebe is admiring who she thinks is a male, which creates dramatic irony. She acts irrationally through trying to prove that she is in love, and through disregarding Silvius, who is also a part of the conversation. This conversation, caused by dramatic irony, is humorous for the reader. Similarly, in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Cecily and Gwendolen argue about their engagement with Ernest. Cecily and Gwendolen were both discussing their love lives, however, Gwendolen, not knowing the situation, politely stated: “My Darling Cecily, I think there must be some slight error. Mr. Ernest Worthing is engaged to me.” (Wilde, 335). In this line, Gwendolen uses a harsh tone and is completely unforgiving of the situation. The reader finds this funny because Gwendolen could easily be a more rational person because as an audience, he or she knows that she is unreasonable. As a result of the author’s use of dramatic irony,…show more content…
In As You Like It, Phebe falls incoherently in love with Ganymede: “The matter’s in my head and in my heart.” (3.5.138). Phebe firmly believes in her dream. Shakespeare uses this idea to satirize true love through dramatic irony. Because the reader knows of Ganymede’s life, he or she knows that Ganymede has no intention of marrying Phebe. However, she still insists on trying to convince Ganymede of their love. This scene is an example of dramatic irony because the character does not know the conditions of the situation. It is because of this that the reader finds this idea hysterical. Thus, Phebe will never have a chance to marry Rosalind, yet she continues to try. In The Importance of Being Earnest, the author uses dramatic irony when both Cecily and Gwendolen fall for Ernest. This love connection is comedic because the reader sees that Ernest is not a real person. In essence, Cecily and Gwendolen fall for a non-existent person: “My own Earnest! It is a divine name. It has a music of its own.” (Wilde, 306). For the reader, this is absurd because Gwendolen claims she has no ability to love anyone of another name, yet Jack is not Ernest. This misunderstanding creates an air of comedic eccentricities because Algernon and Jack are not Ernest. However, Gwendolen mentioned that she could not marry a Jack, even though, in the end when the
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