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The Importance Of Being Earnest

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In "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde, humor functions through the use of Characterization and the social satire of the Victorian period. Characterization is the method an author uses to reveal or describe characters and their various personalities. Satire is a literary tone used to ridicule or make fun of human vice or weakness, often with the intent of correcting, or changing, the subject of the satirical attack. These two comical devices are part of the nature of humor, which is the concept that a person's flaws are funny. An example is if a person was to stand on stage and one was to point out their physical and physiological flaws in front of a big crowd. Of course everyone in the crowd would be laughing because that is the nature of humor. This is what the whole play, "The Importance of Being Earnest" is based around. The play also works perfectly on how it is setup in the beginning and brought through to become a very funny play in the end.

Oscar Wilde's use of Characterization is primarily shown through the character Lady Bracknell. Lady Bracknell is a very stubborn character who is a little overprotective of her daughter Gwendolen. Lady Bracknell's character is significantly exposed when she is questioning Jack before he is allowed by her to engage Gwendolen, "I feel bound to tell you that you are not down on my list of eligible young men...however, I am quite ready to enter your name, should your answers be what a really affectionate mother requires." (Pg. 12) By using the characterization of Lady Bracknell, Oscar Wilde creates a larger comedic affect in the play.

In "The Importance of Being Earnest," Oscar Wilde uses the character Algernon to depict Satire. Algernon is a very arrogant, self-centered, and hypocritical character who puts blame on anyone but himself. The satirical affect of his character is placed blatantly on his problem of over-eating. If Algernon has eaten something that he was not supposed to, one of his servants takes him right out of trouble by making an excuse. Here Algernon is being hypocritical by telling Jack not to eat a cucumber sandwich and then



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