The Importance Of Being Earnest

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Oscar Wilde’s purpose in writing this passage of the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” is to reveal the idiocy of the emphasis on appearance and rank in Victorian society, which in the case of this passage has led to a fabrication of identity in order to further the character’s interests and allow them to do what they want. Wilde is stating the importance of being true to yourself and to other people, because a lie meant to impress others or to get ahead in society is unsustainable. As illustrated by Oscar Wilde, there is a difference between being funny and being witty. Someone who is witty is “intelligently clever”, whereas someone who is funny is amusing or comical. Wilde uses his wit in order to expose the hypocrisy and artificial nature of his social environment. This is conveyed through Jack and Algernon’s “bunburying”, which has negative consequences due to the encounter between them and their female counterparts. Literary devices such as tone, inversion, and parallelism are used to communicate the theme of the passage. The tone of the passage expresses Wilde’s attitude toward what he is depicting. For example, social interaction in Victorian England was very formal and serious. However, Wilde viewed social interaction as amusing and at times ridiculous due to its emphasis on insignificant or untrue factors. Similarly, the tone of the passage appears to be serious due to the severity of Jack and Algernon’s elaborate lies, but this seriousness is actually being mocked by the author through Cecily and Gwendolyn’s reactions. In the first half of the passage, Gwendolyn and Cecily’s fears of being engaged to the same person are easily allayed by Jack and Algernon’s simple inquiry as to how such an idea entered their “pretty little head”. As previously stated, a very serious matter which Cecily and Gwendolyn had been fighting over is
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