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The Satirical Humour of The Importance of Being Earnest

Updated on December 19, 2016
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Victor writes about diverse topics dealing with history, literature, and technology.


The Importance of Being Earnest

"The Importance of Being Earnest" also known as "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People" is another exemplary piece of work by Oscar Wilde. It was the last piece of work that he produced and reputed to be his best. The play is a hilariously satirical view of the dual lives of two pseudo grooms.

In a nutshell the plot of “The importance of Being Earnest” is set around two men and their courtship of two women. The play is undoubtedly hilarious and is full of the witticisms that Wilde was known for. The play starts out with one of the main characters “Earnest” shows up on a visit his friend Algernon and ends up proposing to his Algernon’s cousin Gwendolyn, much to her mother’s distress. This tirade is expounded upon by Wilde until eventually Algernon ends up visiting Jack and proposing to his ward and refers to himself as Earnest as well.

It all comes to a grinding halt when both women find that they are both engaged to Earnest and then discover that that was not the name of their future husbands to be. At this point the women break off their engagements befuddled by the deception.

Wilde then sends the imaginations further afield when he delves into the truth about Jack's past and reveals that he and Algernon are actually brothers. The satire and bold characterizations keep the reader at the edge of their seat. It is a play that you want to read through to the end to see how the madness will unfold. In the long run it is an "all's well that ends well" story but the intricate weave of storytelling that was produced by the great Oscar Wilde is second to none. He goes to great lengths to show the irony and downright stupidity of the whole thing. The men pretend to be who they are not and get wrapped up in deceit coupled with the preference of choice that the mother has for her daughter and a guardian for his ward.

This last piece of work by Oscar Wilde was the most alluring, amusing and ironic production yet. The master spun the web to entice the readers. It was such a great piece of work that over the years it has been produced by many theatrical companies and has even been executed by high school drama groups. Portions of its dialogue are often quoted today. It is a timeless piece that with great irony runs parallel to many things that occur with modern courtship in our society.


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