Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnes

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Many authors of literary works and plays rely heavily on word-play, puns, verbal irony, innuendo, and witticism to mock or satirize a particular subject. This is true of Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde, living in a society tainted by strict rules and customs, used this play to challenge social norms of the Victorian era. The double entendre included in title, The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, accents Oscar Wilde's witticism and word-play, as he mocks Victorian values by trivialising the aspects of marriage, aristocracy, and society. Throughout this play, Wilde employs many puns and includes verbal irony as he teases and mocks Victorian assumptions on the nature and purpose …show more content…
Algernon comments on how corrupt upper class citizens seem to be, “Lane's views on marriage seem somewhat lax. Really, if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility,” (I.17). Lady Bracknell, a woman of higher class, questions Jack, a man of lower class, in his relationship with Gwendolen, “Mr. Worthing, is Miss Cardew at all connected … with any of the larger railway stations in London? I merely desire information. Until yesterday I had no idea that there were any families or persons whose origin was a Terminus. [Jack looks perfectly furious, but restrains himself.],” (III.61). Wilde utilizes both verbal irony and pun within this quote. Lady Bracknell seems to disapprove of Jack, as he has no family and seems to be of lower class, however, she was not originally of high class. She married into it and became wealthy, proving the verbal irony. The use of pun comes into play with the word, “terminus,” a double entendre, meaning both “end,” and “terminal station,” ironically where Jack was found. Her aristocratic nature gives her a hypocritical and judgemental. Through these characters, Wilde expresses his ideas on the corruptness and hypocrisy of the upper …show more content…
The double entendre in the actual title, The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, expresses Oscar Wilde's witticism and word-play, as he mocks Victorian existence by trivialising not only society, but also marriage, and aristocracy. Looking beneath the romance and comedy, the witticism throughout the play and within this title expresses these ideas that Wilde

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