The importance of being earnes

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

download word file, 6 pages 3.0

Downloaded 15 times

"The Importance of Being Earnest" By Oscar Wilde.

In "The Importance of Being Earnest", Oscar Wilde pairs characters and he also splits his characters into two contrasting groups. Explain how he does this and why.

"The Importance of Being Earnest" is a play of childlike innocence and nonsense. In order to present this to the audience Wilde had to be simple, and therefore, he uses seven main characters in the play, which he simply pairs and contrasts. Wilde pairs characters through their values, 'ideals' and relation. However, opposing traits form the contrasting groups. Initially, Wilde's approach is not easily identified until Act 2 when all the characters have been introduced to the audience. It is here, where the audience begins to pair and contrast the characters.

The first pair in the play are Jack and Algernon who are both "Bunburyists" leading double lives. Algernon has invented an "invaluable permanent invalid called "Bunbury", which enables him to go on pleasure trips to the country.

On the other hand, Jack has created a fictitious brother named Ernest in order to go to the city whenever he wishes. At the start of the play, we find that Jack wants to marry Gwendolen Fairfax whom he adores greatly. Moreover, in Act 2 the audience sees Algernon proposing to Cecily Cardew: "I love you, Cecily. You will marry me, won't you?" However, it has always been Cecily's and Gwendolen's ideal to marry someone of the name Ernest. As a result, both men think of being christened first when proposing: "I must get christened at once." In Act 2 they look to Dr Chasuble to rechristen them Ernest, arguing that "We both can't be christened Ernest." In the play, both men commit 'murder'. Early on in the play Jack promises to kill off...