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Humors and Satire in The Importance of Being Earnest - Book Report/Review Example

Donohue, Berggren (pp. 90-98) discusses that Wilde pokes fun at the outward concerns of an aristocratic, elite and noble Victorian society he was aware of, but because the dialogue is so witty, satirical and humorous at the same time that even though the characters are trivial, they never decrease their attractiveness. Thus, Wilde's wit and humor fuel his satire. This paper discusses humors and satire in The Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) in a concise and comprehensive way.
Kaplan, Stowell (pp. 123-129) discusses that The Importance of Being Earnest is at all levels humorous, parodic and satirical; merrily discouraging both conventional theatrical forms and the pre-determined artificial certainties of Victorian life, its stated intent is made quite clear in the subtitle: "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People (Kaplan, Stowell, pp. 123-129)." The play is a deliberate caricature of melodramatic plot conventions and the structure of the well-made play: the outsider Jack is portrayed to be of noble birth and to have the "proper" name, Ernest. Thematically, subjects, themes and issues of seriousness to Victorian society and culture - marriage, class differences, religion, faith and creed and death - are presented in the play with deliberate triviality, while minor and trivial matters - whether to eat tea-cake, muffins, how to appear, how to dress, when to dish up cucumber sandwiches - are presented by the characters as matters of supreme gravity.
Kaplan and Stowell (pp. 123-129) discusses that serving as Wilde's legendary wit, the Importance of Being Ernest is written on an endless series of paradoxes or inversions of the accepted norm of the Victorian society. "To lose one parent," (Donohue, Berggren, pp. 90-98). Lady Bracknell informs Jack, a suitor for her niece, "may be regarded as a misfortune - to lose both seems like carelessness. Who was your father He was evidently a man of some wealth. Was he born in what the Radical papers call the purple of commerce or did he rise from the ranks of the aristocracy" (Kaplan, Stowell, pp. 123-129). Wilde's intentional inversion of accepted formulas of the time- "Divorces are made in Heaven," "Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others," "the home seems to me to be the proper sphere for a man" (Kaplan, Stowell, pp. 123-129) - maintains and continues the play's mood throughout, sarcastic Victorian obsessions with appearance, look, exterior and form while maintaining a lightness of mood in the play.
Satire is defined to be the use of humor to ridicule faults and vices. The Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde is a social satire, using irony and paradoxes to insinuate the problems and faults found in the Victorian society. The Importance of Being Earnest is set in the late Victorian Era during a social reform. The class system was defined by the animosity between classes, the upper class treating the lower class with disdain and disgust. The upper class was rigidly controlled by savoir faire, knowing what to ...Show more


Playwrights of the early and late 19th century adopted, in their writings, non-realistic forms to express their satirical views about society. Perhaps the well-known of all these playwrights is Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), who gained popular and critical success with his satirical, witty and humorous plays about the Victorian upper classes, elite and nobles…
Author : ghauck
Humors and Satire in The Importance of Being Earnest
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