Doll's House

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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Human beings and relationships is an inevitable process of life, however, understanding the actions and behaviours produced by such affairs is a very intricate matter. The complexity of human relationships raises the question, what motivates people to act in certain ways? Over time, factors such as social status, gender roles, cultural values, and an individual's position in society have continued to dictate human behaviour to a large degree. Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Ibsen's A Doll's House and Reza's Art, all manufacture the complexity of relationships at the core of their plays, using both comedy and realism to express the nature of human behaviour. Another question, which can be raised, is, what extent will people go to too obtain a higher position in life's social hierarchy, and, at what cost? The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, was written in 1895, and although it is a comedy, this play clearly displays people and the absurd behaviours they will expose, in order to achieve some personal or material gain.

In this play, marriage is portrayed as the necessary vehicle to obtaining a desired social status, where people's individual roles in society are very important. The audience is first introduced to two characters, Jack and Algernon, who describe a behaviour they refer to as "Bunburying", where the characters create two identities for themselves. Jack has taken on the name Ernest as his second character, now, ready to dispose of his second identity, he cannot. The importance of the name Ernest will become clear to Jack as he proposes marriage to his love Gwendolen, and at the end of the play, when the audience will also find out "the importance of being earnest". Gwendolen accepts Jack's proposal, but she says, "The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he...