Dramatic Irony In Oscar Wilde's Use Of Humor

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Comedy can be created with varying methods. In both Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, the characters carry on with regular social engagements without knowledge; that is only available to the audience, relevant to the play. Both stories, effectively, use dramatic irony in a similar fashion to create humour. Through the conversations involving mistaken identity, foolish behaviour caused by the unfavourable situations, and dishonesty in love, both stories create fun through the examples mentioned above of dramatic irony. Through the conversations held between people involving mistaken identities, it creates a type of humor which only the audience understands. William Shakespeare’s As You …show more content…
Both stories use folly as a comedic element. In As You Like It, Orlando ridiculously professes his love to Rosalind: “Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love; [...] These trees shall be my books” (3.2. 1-5). Shakespeare uses the knowledge that Rosalind has been already in love with Orlando to make him seem foolish in the situation. He stupidly places poems on the trees, acting lovesick for someone who is already smitten with him. The awkwardness and stupidity add a sense of humor through the use of dramatic irony. Orlando is madly in love with Rosalind as well; however, she acts unintelligently through pretending to be someone else just to see if Orlando is genuine. This is an another aspect of the foolish behaviour found in the scene mentioned earlier between Orlando and Ganymede. The Importance of Being Earnest also uses this type of dramatic irony, albeit in a different set of circumstances. The characters act foolish when Lady Bracknell tells Jack that because of his not knowing of his heritage and wealth, he cannot marry Gwendolen. This is witless because the reader knows that Lady Bracknell married Lord Bracknell even though she had no wealth and no social status. This is humorous because the reader knows that Lady Bracknell 's circumstances parallel that of Jack 's, but she still rejects Jack and Gwendolen’s marriage: “When I married Lord Bracknell I had no fortune of any kind. But I never dreamed for a moment of allowing that to stand in my way” (Wilde, 349). Lady Bracknell contradicts her own view on society, and claims that she will not let fortune stop her, yet she still does not approve of the marriage. Jack is acting foolishly by trying to impress Lady Bracknell with his social class, even though she does not have social class before she married into it. With the use of dramatic irony, the characters

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