The Importance Of Being Earnest

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The Importance of Image The word play of earnest and Ernest is extremely comedic because all characters in “The Importance of Being Earnest” are self-interested, social climbing, conformists to the repressed Victorian era. Although Jack and Algernon would love to be Ernest, and Cecily and Gwendolen would love to be with an Ernest, it is symbolic of their status seeking. The idea of being genuine and honest is appealing to all the characters, but above all being respected in their upper-class position is the most important even it means sacrificing their own identity. Oscar Wilde uses irony, characterization, and satire to criticize the behavior and unreasonable expectations of the upper class in 19th century Victorian England. Wilde …show more content…
The love between Jack and Gwendolen and Algernon and Cecily is superficial at best and is mostly based on looks and image and Wilde questions the substance of such arrangements.Gwendolyn even admits that “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing” (Act III). If the love between the couples was truly genuine, perhaps the whole act of pretending to be Ernest would not have arisen because the women would not have cared what the names of their loves would be and would be more concerned about their character. Jack and Algernon’s efforts of pretending to be Ernest is an attempt at a small act of rebellion. It ultimately falls flat and they give into their true identities and fall into line with what society expects them to do. Their conformity is what makes their characters unlikable because readers are appalled at the lengths they go to in order to fit into their crooked society. Blacknell is the symbol for society and conformity and is quite self-aware of her compliance. She tells Algernon to “never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can’t get into it do that” (Act II). Wilde uses these aristocratic characters in order to prove the insanity of the upper

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