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Satire in the Importance of Being Earnest

Categories History, Irony, Literary Genre, Literature, Period, Plays, Sat, Satire, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Victorian Era

Essay, Pages 4 (817 words)

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Essay, Pages 4 (817 words)

Making use of funny assists bring books, movies and plays to life. In some cases, it is even written around the idea of comedy itself. The play Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde slams the element of the stylish life in the Victorian period by teasing them with a term called satire. In the play, Wilde artistically utilizes three various kinds of paradox. These being: verbal, significant and situational forms of paradox. Each type of irony is utilized to mock the behavior and status of the characters, depending on their character and position in the society.

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Verbal paradox is displayed in which an individual says or writes something and implies another, or uses words to communicate a meaning that is the opposite of the literal meaning. The first for of paradox is revealed when Algernon accuses the protagonist, John/Jack Worthing, of being a “bunburyist”. A bunburyist is the innovation of a person in which a person pretends to be in specific situations.

These accusations of John hold true considering that a fictional more youthful bro named Ernest. In this circumstance, the paradox is expressed when John satisfies Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen who seems to be in love with her at first sight.

At this part, John presents himself as his made up sibling Ernest, then displaying the attributes of being strong, brave and genuine to draw in Gwendolen. These actions John portrayed in this scene are that of being Earnest. This kind of Irony is simpler to understand when seeing the personalities of John and Ernest individually.

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John makes up this depend on order to keep Gwendolen brought in to him and win her love after she states, “I pity any lady who is married to a male called John, the only real safe name is Ernest”.

The fact that John goes along with this lie is an indication of verbal irony, because in contradicting himself, he follows the definition of being earnest. Another type of irony used by Wilde that used in the play is dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows a particular fact that the other characters do not. This irony appears in the play when Ernest was talking to Algernon at the beginning of the play, Ernest told Algernon, who already had a clue that Jack was his real name, which is where the audience learns about he double life; Algernon always introduced Jack by his other name Ernest Worthing making everyone believe that Ernest was his actual name when his literal name is Jack.

Another example of dramatic irony in the story is displayed through Algernon’s fake identity Bunbury. Algernon tells his family and friends that his good fake friend, Bunbury is very sick which is the main excuse Algernon uses to escape from his daily life. Dramatic Irony is displayed in this scene due to the audience’s knowledge that Algernon’s fake friend “Bunbury” is just a made up character.

Algernon uses Bunbury not only as a made up friend but also as a worried excuse. In simple words, dramatic irony is expressed in the story when Jack and Algernon present their made up characters. There is also the form of situational irony, which is closely related to dramatic irony. It describes a difference between the expected result and the actual result in a certain situation. The situational irony is shown when the truth starts to unravel.

Jack finds out what happened to him as a child and why he does not know his parents. All the main characters somehow end up all in the same room. Lady Bracknell asks Ms. Prism about a baby she had wandered off years ago, her answer builds up the story linking events with evidences such as the bag misplaced in the train station; making the characters and the audience think that Miss Prism will turn out to be Jack’s mom but in the end Lady Bracknell just declares that Jack’s mom is her poor sister Mrs. Moncrieff making that scene very unexpected.

The irony continues to explain how Jack and Algernon turns out to be biological brothers. Like they were pretending to be earlier in the story to play out their game of Bunburyism. Jack’s reaction shows the proof of his happiness of his newfound brother. That same person that played his brother in their mind games with their friends and families. Irony has different uses that develop the value of entertainment in literature.

The three main forms of irony is present in the Importance of Being Earnest, where Oscar Wilde displays his creativity in telling a story by satirizing the trends of the Victorian era by just using characters; not actually talking about the Victorian era specifically in the play. Even though some of the characters lack knowledge about the forms of irony, the audience has all the information they need to interpret their own understanding behind the meanings of these ironies.

Cite this essay

Satire in the Importance of Being Earnest. (2016, Sep 15). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/satire-in-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essay

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