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Are The Contrasting Themes in Lady Windermeres Fan Important?

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Are The Contrasting Themes in ?Lady Windermere?s Fan? Important? Throughout ?Lady Windermere?s Fan? we are introduced to many contrasting themes. Such as conflict and harmony, trust and betrayal and deception and truth. These are the main contrasting themes that Wilde has used throughout this play. The balance of these contrasting themes certainly improve the overall effect of the play, adding viewing value in the form of intrigue and enjoyment. However, are these contrasting themes important to the play and if so, how and why? Although this is a comedy, Wilde derives much comedic value from the conflicts within the play. Let?s take into consideration the conflict between Lord and Lady Windermere. This conflict arises purely due to a misunderstanding (when Duchess of Berwick tells Lady Windermere of her husband being with another woman e.g. ?He goes to see her continually, and stops for hours at a time??) and through deception on the part of Lord Windermere (although he promises to his wife that he has not cheated he will not tell her of why he and Mrs Erlynne were meeting), albeit for altruistic reason. The conflict is never really heated or serious and the audience can appreciate the humorous situation as we know that all will end well and any misunderstandings will be clarified by the end of the play, as is an example in ?Much Ado About Nothing? and many other romantic comedies. ...read more.


Wilde seems to suggest that the truth is not always the best thing for everyone as it can be better to live a lie and maintain harmony in society rather than live an open, truthful life but cause chaos and disharmony. Although the contrast between deception and truth doesn?t seem to have a massive impact on the play it does however, create the play. If not for the deception between that of Lord Windermere and Mrs Erlynne there would be no real story, this is because Mrs Windermere would not have been misled into thinking her husband had committed adultery but also, Mr Windermere and Mrs Erlynne would have had no real reason to have met up in the first instance. It also gives the audience something to think about. Wilde shows that whilst being truthful may seem like a good idea, sometimes it is better to deceive instead to keep someone else?s piece of mind. Another contrasting theme is the society versus the individual. Victorian society has a very controlling influence on the individual as it was very difficult to fight against the society conventions and instead, many found it easier to adhere to the rules and social mores imposed by Victorian society, at least publicly. Mrs Erlynne was a victim of circumstance, many of the other characters slandering her, Duchess of Berwick calling her a ?horrid woman.? however, Mrs Erlynne plays an important role to ...read more.


In return, she seems only too eager to betray him with Lord Darlington. Lord Windermere is forced to trust Mrs Erlynne in a way as he hopes that her intentions towards her daughter are benign and that she won?t try to drag all of them into the mire. This trust is then rewarded at the end of the play as Mrs Erlynne leaves with the potential scandal avoided. Wilde could be suggesting that there isn?t enough trust and far too much deception and betrayal, and that in order to get ahead in life one must learn to be brave and trust others a bit more. Trust and betrayal are very important themes in ?Lady Windermere?s Fan? as without them, there wouldn?t be much of a story to tell or at least, a less interesting one. This is because, without the idea of betrayal the level of tragedy would have greatly decreased, in turn possibly causing less intrigue and viewer enjoyment. Wilde has also once again, skilfully and linguistically hidden another truth of the world and how it works. Overall, I believe that all the contrasting themes in ?Lady Windermere?s Fan? play important parts in not only creating an initial idea for the play but also, to continue the play with fluent language that will draw in the viewer and even make them think. Not only do these themes entice the viewer, they create a complex and interesting story line to last years. ...read more.

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