The Importance Of Being Earnest Humour Analysis

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Writing Task

The use of satirical humor in “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde

Throughout the play, Oscar Wilde uses satirical humor to ridicule and deride the members of the

Victorian aristocracy.

Wilde criticizes certain aspects of society, mocking social conventions such as marriage. This can be

seen in the play when Jacks confides to Algernon that he is in love with Gwendolen and that he has come

to town to propose to her, and Algernon replies that he thought that Jack came to town for pleasure when

marriage, to him, is just business, it used as social advancement and the perpetuation of the classes

(page 4). This shows that Algernon’s perception of marriage is a social obligation that is rather

unromantic. In fact
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This comment is extremely materialistic; once she is aware of Cecily’s wealth, she immediately appears

interested and knows that she is not from a lower class and is reassured.

Oscar Wilde uses satirical humor when Jack tells Miss Prism that Earnest has died, in order to point at the

lack of empathy between the individuals in the upper classes. In the play, this is shown page 37: ”What a

lesson for him! I trust he will profit by it.” The comment shows a lack of respect which is, supposedly, one

of the crucial values which an individual from higher class is required to have. It also shows an absence of

empathy towards Jack. This comment is cynical and insensible.

I believe Oscar Wilde used satirical humor to expose some despicable aspects of society and the

shallowness of the higher society in the Victorian era. Wilde insists on demonstrating the puerility of the

individuals in upper classes and their foolishness within their exclusive environment. Wilde gibes at their

pathetic world of surreal conventions and absurd

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