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Published: 24-12-2019

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The Systemic Stereotypes of Characters in The Importance of Being Earnest

Names play a pivotal role in Oscar Wilde’s drama “The Importance of Being Earnest.” The naming of the characters is deliberate and properly thought-out. Their name alludes to the pigeonhole for each and every of their characters. A name is a typecast and in Victorian instances, when this play was written, a name would have determined no matter whether you have been to turn into a prince or a pauper. It is ironic that a child is at the mercy of its parents for its name just like the characters in this play have been predetermined by Wilde. An expectation for the way in which society is run is also a label and Oscar Wilde sets out to prove the triviality of these brands via his characters use of wit, irony, and humor. The stereotypes of the 5 major characters in this play help to reveal societal masks by means of comedic timing.

The comic creation of Lady Bracknell is a marvelous outlet for the actions of the plot and to receive a glimpse into the ideals of the Victorian Era2E Lady Bracknell is the quintessential matronly elite who stresses great breeding above all else. Some of Wilde’s funniest lines are played out by way of her character. Also, it is Lady Bracknell that introduces Wilde’s views on marriage and how it falls short of the romantic perfect. When Lady Bracknell is interviewing Jack to be a candidate for marrying her daughter, Gwendolyn, her physical and linguistic actions illustrate that she is disturbed by Jack’s disreputable background. For Instance, when Jack tells her he was identified in a handbag at the train station in the Brighton line, she states that, “The Line is immaterial.” (Act I p.1439). This shows how drastically Jacks lack of a material background distresses her. Lady Bracknell is a stereotype for the importance in Victorian culture of a excellent upbringing and family name.

Gwendolyn is Lady Bracknell’s daughter and is the cause for Lady Bracknell’s snobbery towards Jack. Gwendolyn is in adore with Jack whom she knows as Ernest. Her frivolity is stereotypical of the time period in regards to thoughts about marriage. For example, she says she was destined to really like Ernest because of his name (Act I p.1435). This displays her obsession with her fantasy for the perfect romance. But, many of the epigrams in the play denote the ironic fact that Wilde felt there was a cruel reality to marriage.

Significantly like Gwendolyn is Cecily, in as a lot as they are both set on their romantic fantasies about marriage. She even holds the very same opinion about the name Ernest being the essence of perfection. Cecily has even gone as far as to write enjoy letters to herself and to think about a proposal from Algernon (Ernest) just before she has even met him (Act III p.1452-three). It is amusing that she would not trust her fianc to write them on his personal which is a hint at the fact he would never ever be in a position to create something on his personal that would fulfill all of her expectations. Cecily is also the a single to unequivocally assert the theme of the play when she says, “I hope you have not been major a double life, pretending to be wicked and getting truly great all the time. That would be hypocrisy.” (Act III p.1445). Each Cecily and Gwendolyn are certainly aroused by the dangerousness of a man’s character. Wilde has reversed his intent in a comedic manner simply because what he was alluding to is the individuals who pretend to be moral all the time but in reality reside corruptly. He is commenting on the truth that society compels people to wear a mask.

Algernon is a symbol of the upper crust British bachelor. Wilde even leads into the play by illustrating that Algernon enjoys the finer issues in life, (dining, artistic culture, and music) through his conversation with Lane about his piano playing (Act I p.1427). Algernon is also depicted as more than-indulgent via the visually comical expression of often eating. His opinions about love and marriage are hilariously contradictory. This is exemplified in the line, “If ever I get married, I’ll certainly attempt to neglect the reality.” (Act I p.1429). It would be completely improbable that someone would overlook that they are married. Algernon is a common pseudo-intellectual, creating witty phrases about life that have tiny worth.

Jack, or Ernest, is similar to Algernon since they both reside the life of Victorian over-indulgent Victorian bachelors. They live their lives like works of art, in as much as they are playing grounds that they can manipulate to their pleasing. This is element of Jack’s comedic charm. He is the vessel for the entire play since it is his lying that creates the humorous conflict of morals. It is also his name that creates the pun for the drama. Jack treats solemn events with casual abandon and yet he becomes stressed over trifles. For Instance, when Cecily comes outdoors to tell Jack that Ernest is in the living space, soon after just possessing told, Miss Prism and Chasuble that he was dead, he just rolls with the punches and acts totally unaffected however he bothers Scotland Yard more than the loss of his cigarette case (Act III p.1449 and Act I p.1429).

The Value of Being Earnest is a comedy of manners that ridicules social stereotypes and breaks down societal masks. The five main characters assist to highlight the differences in between men and girls and to poke fun at their beliefs about adore and marriage. By means of Wilde’s comedy and wit it becomes apparent that this drama is as considerably a microcosm of our ideals in the present as in his time. The message by means of the humor of Lady Bracknell, Algernon, Jack, Gwendolyn, and Cecily is to appreciate the beauty in life and to let go of the confused sense of values and stereotypes that society imposes.
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