Essay on "the importance of being earnest", by Oscar Wilde

Essay by kirstieHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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The importance of being earnest, written by Oscar Wilde, takes place in the Victorian time period in England. Wilde was known as dry, stern, and earnest. This is why he chose the title for his play, for it takes place in the upper, stuck up English society and his protagonists think they are something of the sort, yet they want the name Earnest. This book shows many examples of social satire and irony through ways of humor, by puns. Marriage, satirized throughout the play, is just one example of they way Wilde conveys his humor in the Importance of being Earnest.

Throughout the play marriage is not taken seriously and is satirized. This is seen in Algernon's opinion or judgement in Act one. Jack tells Algy that he has come to town to ask Gwendolen to marry him. In response to this, Algernon says, "I thought you had come up for pleasure? I call that business."As

he continues he says, "I really don't see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If I ever get married, I'll certainly try to forget the fact." This is ironic because in the end, Algernon proposes to Cecily, contradicting himself entirely. Irony also lies in the fact that Cecily and Gwendolen are only marrying for the name Earnest, not love.

Throughout the play is a double meaning behind the name earnest, which can be a name, or mean a word describing seriousness. Both Jack and Algernon thought they were lying about their names being earnest, when in fact in the end, they hadn't been lying...