Funny Earnest Analytical Essay by Peerless

Funny Earnest
A look at different forms of humor in "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde.
# 6489 | 735 words | 0 sources | 2002 | US
Published on Feb 08, 2003 in Drama and Theater (English) , English (Analysis)

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Oscar Wilde in the play "The Importance of Being Earnest" creates humor in several different ways. Three of these ways are-- through the use of ironic situations, through the use of puns and through the use of witty epigrams. An example of each of these methods is given, showing how the humor operates and what it achieves.

From the Paper:

"The first and most crucial is the use of irony. The entire wit and meaning of the play is captured by the irony. The Importance of Being Earnest focuses on the elite of society and by irony, pokes fun at them and offers a deeper look into their world. The irony is focused on the characters attempts at being earnest, where earnest has a double meaning, meaning serious and also meaning the person's name Ernest. Algernon and Jack both claim to be Ernest, and in doing so act with earnest. We also see that Lady Bracknell is earnest but that this only brings her unhappiness. The irony is that the characters who do not act earnestly are rewarded and the characters who do act earnestly are not. With this, Wilde makes a statement about society's belief in the importance of being earnest. The meaning is that being earnest in fact has no reward. Firstly, we can say that the double meaning creates a humorous situation by the play on words. Secondly, it goes beyond this and through irony shows that valuing earnest has no reward. The end meaning is to show the flaw in society, that those that have acted earnestly are the ones that are not earnest."

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