The Importance Of Being Earnest

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Sonia Kaur
Professor McLaughlin
ENG 102 TH 7 C
Topic: Research Paper on The Importance of Being Earnest
Essay 4
How does Oscar Wilde satirize Victorian society in his play The Importance of Being Earnest?

What is the genre of the play? Sure, it is a comedy, but where does Wilde put the emphasis on? Social satire. Social satire is a weapon using comedy in order to take a subject, in this case the Victorian Era, and ridicule it. In this sense, comedy is not only to entertain but also educate. Thus, the play makes us not only laugh but also think about our life. Aligned with the idea of satire there is irony. Irony is something that is expressed in such a way that it means the opposite of what it seems to be expressing. Ironic tone is used. It is a tone that conveys the opposite of its apparent meaning. Dramatic irony is any situation where we as an audience have inside knowledge that characters on the stage do not have access to. For Example where Jack is struggling to justify how his name appears on the cigarette case, even though we know that Algernon knows him as Earnest. Dramatic Irony operates in a way where the audience has a privileged position with knowledge that is not available to the characters. In a social satire, all of the ideas mentioned above operate at the same time. Social satire is a play that takes a vice or folly and makes it appear ridiculous by means of mocking and making fun of it. It’s a comedy, in other words, with a serious purpose. Comedy is being used as a weapon to make a political and social commentary. How does it do that? It explores issues such as marriage, class, church, and Victorian restraints and makes fun of it in order for us to recognize that which is otherwise accepted every day and normalized, actually is ridiculous and foolish. Melodrama is another particular tradition of the 19th-century theater. It is usually a very naïve and sensational piece of theater. The characters are two-dimensional; they are not...
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