The Importance Of Being Ernest Analysis

Improved Essays
The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde, ca. 1894
“Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”
- Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan

Oscar Wilde liked to write plays that pointed at the aristocracy and nouveau riche in a critical way, but of course, written in a funny way so that his work became satirical. Oscar Wilde was therefore a brilliant writer of comedies of manners, the entertainment form that satirizes the manners of a social class, in Wilde’s case, the high upper class, as previously mentioned.
The Importance of Being Earnest” is a great example of this, as Wilde in this play, repeatedly mocks Victorian traditions, such as the pursuit of love, which we see in both Gwendolen and Cecily, who both have put their faith in the Christian name of Earnest, quite unlike the mother of Gwendolen; Lady Bracknell who is much more methodical and analytical of whom her daughter
…show more content…
It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist when one isn’t a dentist. It produces a dales impression.” and a comment by Gwendolen: “The fact is constantly mentioned in the more expensive monthly magazines, and has now reached the provincial pulpits”
The last thing to focus on, what I have focused on, of the literary terms tied to comedy of manners, is the double entendres, the best example of this, is the title itself, which is also satirical: “The Importance of Being Earnest” Ernest is a name, and was very popular in Victorian times, where earnest is an adjective, meaning to be sincere, serious and purposeful.
This specific double entendre has also inspired later works of fiction, for example the movie “The Long Kiss Goodnight” from 1996, where Samuel L. Jackson’s character Mitch Henessey says: “I’m always frank and earnest with women. In New York I’m Frank and in Chicago I’m

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    “I based my character interpretation on that!” (Alford, 998). The more he tried to be serious, the more he seemed ridiculous and silly. I think the satire “Big Kiss” is more successful. The subtle hints that Alford used in the satire made the story seem more ridiculous. “The Importance of Being Earnest” satirizes the entire Victorian society and the people who follows the rules, but “Big Kiss” only satirizes his job as an extra.…

    • 1300 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This era was of comedy and romance so it was a great way to read a Shakespearean play that is so relevant today. Rumors are spread like wildfire and they are mostly consisted of lies that hurt other people. It is meant for comedy and one’s own pleasure but in some circumstances it can be used to bring people together such as it did for Beatrice and Benedict. But when regarding Hero and Claudio it was a disaster, the rumor was intended to hurt Hero and for Claudio to slander due to the mischievous Don John and his jealousy towards his brother and fellow friends. William Shakespeare took the time to write down this comedic play to not only enforce comedic relief but to also show the people of the time how much rumors can destroy or build.…

    • 1344 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST The Importance of Being Earnest is one of Oscar Wilde’s most well-known plays and is known for its witty humour and the mocking of the Victorian society. Satirizing of the Victorian views on marriage and the morals and standards of the upper class creates humour in The Importance of Being Earnest. This is supported by stylistic devices and wordplays. The characters in The Importance of Being Earnest, especially Lady Bracknell, mock the snobbism of the upper class. Lady Bracknell perfectly portrays an upper class Victorian woman.…

    • 1051 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Jack and Algernon, two significant characters in Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest, are characterized by similarities and differences that drive the main plot of the play. For example, both characters are well versed in the art of deception, because they have used fictional names and characters in their lives. The “Bunburying” causes the most comic aspect of the play: the mistaken identities. Although the two characters take parallel actions, such as when they developed imaginary characters to escape from tedious situations, they have different personalities and nurtured traits. Jack and Algernon are both part of the upper class, living comfortable lives.…

    • 1065 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Aphra Behn Essay

    • 944 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The tone becomes ingenious and cynical in its vision of human nature, satirical, amoral, spicy and always on the verge of laughter. The dramatists receive hard attacks for frivolity, blasphemy and immorality, for all of this, the respectable citizens avoid attending the theaters. The Restoration is known by its licenses (The Origins of the English Novel, 136), in which the own monarch Charles II is, a man interested in the progress of the arts and the sciences, participant of the libertine customs of his time. Thanks to the king who liked to attend the theater, and not that…

    • 944 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    People of this time were all about comedy. Typically, the playwrights made works based on how they felt about certain events going on in their life. The characters in the plays were considered to be clever and ingenious. There was a level of sophistication added to the works, that made them different than in past poetry. For instance, John Dryden’s play Aurangzeb 's prologue talks about Dryden growing tired and bored of his long-loved mistress, Rhyme.…

    • 753 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This book is truly fantastic; it jabs at everything, at least that I am personally aware of, that is wrong with this usually great country. Colbert makes homophobia seem single-minded, sexists look like Neanderthals, censorship childish, and Racists as outdated and unwanted as the United States’ Postal Service. As I stated earlier satire is a complicated form of comedy, as an example the Stephen Colbert you have likely seen today on the Colbert Report is not actually what the man is like off camera. Though I know from news interviews of Colbert being out of character that he is Catholic, from the South, but is not conservative, obviously. (BIO, n.d) Colbert’s humor is viewed as liberal satire, meaning it makes conservatives look like uninformed idiots.…

    • 1237 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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…

    • 990 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" he uses various comedic devices to create comedy; most noticeably melodrama and farce. These devices are used excessively in order to repeatedly address serious matters in a light-hearted manner; Wilde does this to create humour as opposed to offending his audience. Wilde deliberately wrote the play in this manner as he was fully conscious that his audience consisted of upper class Victorians. Throughout the play, Oscar Wilde articulately trivializes particular values which are supposed to be important in Victorian society, such as marriage and aristocracy, through the use of witty paradoxes and epigrams. Wilde's intentions were to make society think more profoundly and to make them more cognizant of serious matters in life, which should be treated with sincerity and the trivial things with seriousness.…

    • 1529 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    This comedy was the revival of the restoration comedies which had a great influence in the age of Dryden. The restoration comedy is also known as the comedy of manners. This type of comedy exposes the follies, affectation, vanity, hypocrisy and the love intrigue of the people of the upper class society. The purpose of the dramatist is not only to expose them or to bring on the front but also to correct the follies by ridiculing them. It is generally satirical, through full of with language and funny…

    • 1214 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays