The Importance of being Earnest Analysis

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The Importance of being Earnest Analysis

This essay will analyze Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” focusing on its themes, characters, and Wilde’s use of wit and satire. It will explore how the play critiques Victorian social norms, particularly regarding marriage, social status, and the notion of “earnestness.” The piece will also discuss the play’s use of irony and farce, and its significance in the context of Wilde’s career and the broader landscape of English literature. Also at PapersOwl you can find more free essay examples related to Analysis.

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The Importance of Being Earnest was a play first performed in London 1895, written by Oscar Wilde. If one takes this play face value this play is just a humorous play, but it has a darker meaning. It is truly mocking the Victorian Society of the time. This play is a horatian satire, which are happy and joyful, but seeks to correct foolishness with laughter. But all the while also attacks the characteristics of Victorian time. Oscar Wilde wrote this play to be watched by thousands and later read by millions for those who he would like to ridicule on for their opposite viewpoint and to make the opposer seem foolish.

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In The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde mocks the concept of debt, uses situational irony to show not all things turn out the way one thinks, and with the name Earnest there comes dramatic irony.

Throughout the whole play Oscar Wilde uses dramatic irony in his The Importance of Being Earnest. Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something vital to the storyline that some of the characters do not know. In Act II of The Importance of Being Earnest, dramatic irony is heavily used. The first is when both Gwendolyn and Cecily are having lunch when they start to talk and they realize that they are both marrying Ernest, and in their mind he is the same person. But as the audience we know that their husbands are both trying to play the alias of Ernest. And in fact Gwendolyn’s and Cecily’s husbands are not the same person but just two men playing the same name, but this confusion leads to hot waters down the road. Another instance of dramatic irony in act II was when Gwendolyn said how honest Jack is, but when she said this Jack was playing Ernest. Gwendolyn said how “Ernest has a strong upright nature. He is the very soul of truth and honour. Disloyalty would be as impossible to him as deception.” (Act II,page 80). This is dramatic irony because we as the audience know that Jack is not telling the truth because his name is not actually Ernest it’s jack. Moreover he’s not honorable either because he also uses an alias to get out of things he doesn’t want to do. This also mocks women during the Victorian times, women during the time were just obsessed with getting married to a man with money and nothing more. Also mocks how many secrets each person had even with their loved ones. They didn’t care for his personality or get to know him as much as they should have. All in all, dramatic irony was incorporated to mock the Victorian times and how everyone had secrets.

The second type of satire used in The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde uses situational irony to show how things don’t always go the same way you think. Situational irony is when the direct opposite happens of what one was thinking was going to happen. In the play Jack makes up a fake character, Ernest, as his brother and thinks that he will never have a brother. As Jack said, “I have no brother at all. I never had a brother in my life, and I certainly have not the smallest intention of ever having one in the future”(Act II,page 86). But at the end of the play Jack, finds out who actually left him at the Victoria Station in a handbag, and that was Mrs. Moncrief. This now makes Jack Algernon’s older brother. This is ironic in the end because it tuned out that his fake brother’s alias turned out to be his blood brother, and this is something that Jack though would never have happened.

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The Importance of Being Earnest Analysis. (2021, Mar 20). Retrieved from