Use of Language

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Use of Language
Irony is portrayed in limitless forms but in Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest, it is exposed through Wilde’s use of language. To begin his play, Wilde uses Jack and Gwendolen’s relationship to show how little effort people in the Victorian Era put forth to claim the reputation of being earnest. Wilde’s view on rich people is delineated through the shallowness of Algernon and Lady Bracknell who believe that since they are rich, they are able to control natural forces such as death. Finally, Wilde displays irony through his two major characters, Jack and Algernon. They are both childish men that end up with the most in the end even though they are the least deserving. Wilde’s main purpose for using irony is to uncover the absurdity of the Victorian Culture through his unusual situations, which give his play both a serious and silly vehemence.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, irony is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think especially in order to be funny. Oscar Wilde uses irony in order to expose the behaviors, manners, and flaws of the middle or upper class. During Jack’s and Gwendolen’s conversation before the proposal, they discuss the possibility of Jack having a name other than Ernest. In order to keep Gwendolen, Jack keeps his fake name of Ernest because it has always been her dream to marry a man named Ernest. Jack believes that in order to be earnest, “[he] must get christened at once ...” (42) but to be truly earnest, it takes time and effort. Revealing this superficiality shows Wilde’s thoughts on the Victorian upper classes. The moral code of the Victorian Era valued honesty, sincerity, and integrity, but the lives of Victorian people, as Oscar Wilde describes...

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...control, they wanted the girls to never find out about their names and to love them. Wilde is trying to convey the message that people who see themselves as high class believe the world belongs to them.
Wilde is exposing not only the absurdity of Victorian culture, but also human nature. The Importance of Being Earnest reveals the hypocrisy, immaturity, and the need for control of the Victorian Era but you do not have to look far to see the corruption in society today. People try to control others to make themselves feel important. Even businesses do not share the whole truth to try and get more clients. Whether you are rich or poor, you are still unable to control disasters such as a break up or a sickness. Even Oscar Wilde experienced the tragedy of getting something he did not deserve. He concluded that the only way to cope with this messed up life, is to laugh.
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