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The Importance of Being Earnest - Essay Example

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In the paper “The Importance of Being Earnest” the author discusses Oscar Wilde’s the most famous play. Playwright Oscar Wilde, in his scintillating masterpiece, shows mastery in making use of satire to shed light on Victorian values by weaving the paradoxes in a most hilarious way…
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The Importance of Being Earnest
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"The Importance of Being Earnest"

Download file to see previous pages One of his most famous plays titled ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is the play chosen to be discussed in this essay. Thesis and Hook There is a funny side to life that brings out the child in each one of us and what better way to do this than with the use of satire? Playwright Oscar Wilde, in his scintillating masterpiece, shows mastery in making use of satire to shed light on Victorian values by weaving the paradoxes in a most hilarious way. The play titled ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is packed with wit and humor while portraying mistaken identities to enthrall his audiences who can easily identify with its characters, while relating to such incidents in their day to day lives. Considered to be Oscar Wilde’s most perfect work ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is a play wherein the witty comedy of manners has been brilliantly plotted from its opening effervescent act to its hilarious denouement. In this play, the late Victorian values are hilariously presented and comically critiqued by the playwright. This play is regarded as a masterpiece in the genre of comedy. It is a showcase of the mastery that Wilde had in so far as satire is concerned. The play is filled with parallelism, paradoxes, and understatements. In passing his comments on Victorian society Wilde states –“London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years." (Oscar Wilde, Act 3) Some of English literature’s most famous epigrams can be found in this play. In fact, the play is a celebration of the language itself. However, there is a rejection of serious discourse and the device of the epigram is used as a potent tool to entertain the reader. The play deals with mistaken identities and even after a century, it continues to enthrall audiences the world over. The brilliance of his wit and humor seem current even after a passage of a hundred years and his writing seems evergreen even in these contemporary times. Wilde deals with the institution of marriage and class that are deftly subverted through the guise of farce. Greed and hypocrisy lurking under Victorian politeness are exposed in the play. The moral decay that is portrayed is well illustrated by each of the aristocrats in the play. Even though they seemingly obey propriety, Jack, Algernon, Gwendolen, Cecily and Lady Bracknell, all deceive and lie to do so. Wilde reveals the undercurrent of politics involved in a Victorian marriage. This point is clearly evident in the betrothals of Jack with Gwendolen and Algernon with Cecily which are accepted only after their social standing and fortunes are openly revealed. However, When Lady Bracknell found that her daughter Gwendolen wished to marry a person who was not a blue blood, she was loath to accept the union of the couple. In Victorian society, it was politics that was considered more important than love because it was politics alone that drove the marriage market. The playwright has elevated to a high art in the form of a pun. The wordplay on “earnest” pervades throughout the play. The meaning of the word “earnest” in the context of this play is toyed with and played upon as we witness the same as the plot evolves. The primary theme of the plot revolves around the efforts of Jack and Algernon to be earnest by deceiving and lying. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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