The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde, the author of The Importance of Being Earnest, was most definitely a peculiar character. This is present in his writings, particularly in the aforementioned work. The Importance of Being Earnest uses unusual situations and striking puns to produce a humor that would be enjoyed by nearly all peoples.
     The Importance of Being Earnest was nearly a Victorian example of an episode of 'Seinfeld.'; The characters contained within often find themselves in the most peculiar of situations, so strange that we can find them humorous. They even, at times, seem to represent situations in which we may find ourselves involved. One such example is in Act One, where Jack realizes that Gwendolyn loves the name Ernest. He tries through several ways to talk to her and find out if she could love him if his name was Jack. She considers the entire question to be hypothetical and unimportant, since she's always known him to be Ernest. The entire dialogue that occurs during the discussion has humorous pieces that add to the colorful nature of the play. One piece of the dialogue is spoken by Jack, where he says, 'Gwendolyn, I must get christened at once—I mean, we must get married at once.'; Wilde shows how society would tend to care about what was on the outside of a person, such as their name or wealth, rather than their character.
     Another such example of this situation is when Algernon is speaking to Cecily in regards to their engagement. Cecily knows Algernon to be Jack's brother, Ernest, and is in love with the name the same as Gwendolyn. Algernon tries to inquire, in a similar manner whether Cecily could love him if he bore another name, such as Algernon. Cecily responds in a similar manner. Wilde found one piece to be humorous, and as a result included it into the first Act. He then decided to repeat a similar situation in the second Act of the play.
     Another example of Wilde's use of humor is in his witty remarks and epigrams. By using these devices, it adds color to a character, and helps to balance them well against others instead of creating a 'flat'; appearance. The most prominent character that demonstrates these attributes is Algernon, whose timing throughout the story is impeccable. In Act One, after Jack has finished speaking to Lady Bracknell about marrying Gwendolyn, Lady Bracknell exits the room.

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Jack has barely a second to think about the events when Algernon begins by playing the traditional Wedding March. Algernon, in a way, plays the role of the annoying younger brother, who nit-picks and plays off of one's errors and mishaps. It is a little bit of irony in this case, as we learn later that Algernon is really Jack's younger brother.
     Oscar Wilde, an Irish-born playwright, shows everyone who reads his works that tradition is not always the best method. His writings were very popular among the same people to which his repartee was aimed. With Wilde, sarcasm mixed with dialogue in the right proportion proved to be the right medicine for the ailments of common society. By making the aristocracy the brunt of his jokes and writing about their 'problems,'; Oscar Wilde was able to prove that things do not always need to fit with tradition in order to be accepted.
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