Importance of Being Earnest

2561 Words11 Pages
In The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde uses irony to contribute to the comedic aspects of the play that captures the audience's attention. He does this by using irony to reveal the inconsistencies between the characters' words and their actions. The essay shows how irony helps the audience to appreciate the shortcomings of the characters, Jack and Algernon, in The Importance of Being Earnest reflect on themselves. The inconsistencies between the characters' words and their actions are uncovered by the employment of irony. Jack criticizes Algernon for talking "like a dentist when one isn't a dentist" (5). Jack believes it is rude and socially unacceptable for Algernon to act like someone he is not. However, what Jack does not realize is that he pretends to be Ernest, and communicates under this false name; like Algernon, he is creating a false impression. The dramatic irony allows the audience to witness how easy it is for Jack to find fault with Algernon and not see the relation these words have to him. The audience immediately recognizes and laughs at this irony. Also the audience comes to an understanding how the play mocks the upper class. Jack's inability to recognize the deviation between his words and actions is reinforced when Jack declares that in the "position of a guardian, one has to adopt a very high moral tone on all subjects" (6). Jack's earnest attitude can be indirect from the way he scolds Algernon's lack of seriousness, thus suggesting that he is serious. The dramatic irony is obvious to the audience who correctly identifies the poor morals that he holds through the use of exaggeration of the word "all". This difference between what Jack says and what he actually does reveals his shallowness. Once again, we see that he is creating a false impression. Jack says that "The truth isn't quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice sweet refined
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