Essay on The Importance Of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde

Essay on The Importance Of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde

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Throughout The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde plays around with the standard expectations along with the absence of compassion of a Victorian society in the 1890’s, he demonstrates this through several genres of comedy such as Melodrama, Comedy of Manners, Farce, dark humour and Irony, as well as portraying the themes, death and illness, in this play in a brilliance of unusual amount of references.

Death is an unstoppable event that occurs in every individual’s life, and yet it is a very taboo topic as people rarely broach the subject because it causes incredible distress; it is certainly not a comical topic of conversation and one that is very seldom and rarely congratulated. Yet Oscar Wilde manages to deliver the ever present looming topic of death as if it held the same gravity as a bad hairdo in his comedic play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Instead of expressing support, sorrow and sympathy for the victims of Death and for the relatives, Wilde treats Death in comparison to a result of an impromptu action; no more serious than if a person was to walk into another, due to lack of observation in where they were going; The Importance of Being Earnest is no different, which makes the audience question the unusualness of this theme in the play.

As previously discussed in brief, there are two areas in which the Victorians demonstrated little sympathy or compassion in the themes illness and death, which can be explored through the frequent jokes regarding these matters, first by the highly opinionated character Lady Bracknell. When Lady Bracknell and Miss Fairfax enter on stage she apologises for having been late for tea due to her being ‘obliged to call on dear Lady Harbury’, for her husband’s recent death. At first ...


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...that surprising in terms of the distinctive amount of times it has been addressed; there are many more references throughout the play other than what has been mentioned already, whether it’s briefly mentioned regarding death and illness. Critics have given good reviews ever since the first ever production was revealed on stage and they still give good reviews today which suggest, that the ‘unusual’ amount of references do not necessarily mater. Therefore, although death and illness are a constant reoccurring theme throughout the play, in contrast, there are many more references to life than death. Which brings the statement in question to an arguable close, that these themes being examined are not the most reoccurring theme as Power, Inversion of Gender Roles, Double-Lives, Morality and Hypocrisy are equally discussed an unusual amount of times in this specific play.

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