The Importance of Being Earnes

January 22, 2017 General Studies

Irony: As Portrayed Through The Importance of Being Earnest.

There are very few true comedies that have not mastered the art of irony. Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest may be the biggest example of a comedy that has mastered irony. Irony blends the play between humor and social commentary amazingly. Almost every key idea in the play could be interpreted to be some form of irony. Wilde depicts his ironic tone mostly through his many obscure, yet thoughtful, characters.

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The characters in The Importance of Being Earnest truly define irony, and the irony in this play truly defines the characters. Primarily are the two main characters of the play, Jack and Algernon. Both of the women that love them are more so in love with the name Ernest. It is strange that they are in love with a name rather than a person, but it can be see why Ernest can be a loveable name. Earnest so closely resembling the word “earnest” meaning to be truthful and have valor. The main irony of the play is that neither Algernon nor Jack is being “earnest” in their deceit of their loved ones. However, the irony does not stop there. Through a series of remarkable circumstances, it turns out that the two of them had been telling the truth the entire time. Jack is amazed by this and says, “it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking the truth.” (343). It is amazing that the two men who had been lying, and are not “earnest,” throughout the entire play actually end up marrying their true loves.

Algernon, however, doesn’t want anything to do with marriage at the beginning of the play.

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.


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