• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

' The Importance of Being Earnest' is a comedy of manors written by Oscar Wilde. He makes use of epigrammatic talk in the play to create humour.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Brilliant epigrammatic talk" ' The Importance of Being Earnest' is a comedy of manors written by Oscar Wilde. He makes use of epigrammatic talk in the play to create humour. Initially in the conversation between Algernon and Lane that opens the play. Lane is shown to be a witty character in this scene as he almost undermines a lot of Algernon's comments with disagreements. The wit is introduced in the fact that Lane undermines Algernon in such a way that Algernon himself does not realise. Algernon says, "Good heavens! Is marriage so demoralizing as that?" and Lane replies, "I believe it is a very pleasant state, sir." Lane's use of the noun 'sir' makes Algernon believe he is being polite, however we know that Lane is undermining Algernon's apparent views on marriage. Study the linguistic analysis of turn-taking in this scene we can see that Algernon seems to control the conversation but Lane's statements are very short and blunt. ...read more.

Middle

Wilde has chosen to do this to make the argument sound strangely civil. Wilde does this purposefully to exaggerate his own view on how the upper class are obsessed with keeping up appearances at all times, even in a full blown argument Cecily and Gwendolen remain collected and don't appear to loose their tempers. Furthermore a lot of the epigrammatic talk in this same scene is also verbal irony. Wilde would have intended almost the whole of this scene to be read with a sarcastic tone of voice. As I mentioned earlier Wilde's point is that the upper class are obsessed with how they appear to others so in keeping with the polite turn-taking of the conversation the girls must appear polite in what they say. Almost all of the remarks though are meant as verbal irony to undermine each other. One example is when Gwendolen remarks on how well kept the garden is and Cecily says, "So glad you like it miss Fairfax." ...read more.

Conclusion

Much like Cecily and Gwendolen's conversation Jack and Algy seem to compete with words in this scene to prove they are sharper than each other. Linguistically unlike the conversation between Cecily and Gwendolen, however, sentence structure is very crucial to create humour. One example is when Jack is talking about love and marriage, Algernon quickly replies, "Divorces are made in Heaven." Rather than padding this sentence out to explain exactly what Algy meant Wilde chooses a short sentence structure. Wilde has done this to make sure that the joke flows. Similar to the punch line of a joke the characters' comebacks must be quickly delivered so that the joke does not drag on and loose the humour. In this way epigrammatic talk is delivered quickly to create humour throughout the play. In conclusion, therefore, I agree with this summing up of the play. Wilde uses quick comebacks, verbal irony, short sentences and ambiguity in a brilliantly witty way throughout the play. This is why I believe the play uses "Brilliant epigrammatic talk". Jenny Patten Draft #2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Importance of Being Earnest section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Importance of Being Earnest essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The Importance of Being Earnest - 'We live, as I hope you know, Mr ...

    5 star(s)

    This is again representative of a character's embodiment of an ideal, or the anathema to one in this case. The attitude of the men changes when in the company of the women, in order to appear courteous and honourable, as the woman superficially believe they are.

  2. The traditional view of gender relations in the Victorian era was that men were ...

    As far as economic independence goes, Jack appears to have more independence than does Algy. Jack actually has an 'income' that is 'chiefly in investments'. Algy as explained by Lady Bracknell "has nothing but looks everything".

  1. What do you find funny in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'?Consider what dramatic devices ...

    An example of this is when Lady Bracknell says 'rise from this semi-recumbent posture at once'. Again it is a mockery of Victorian aristocrats. Both Dr Chasuble, who is somewhat pedantic, and Miss Prism show an explicit interest in the language they use, they repeatedly state where their metaphors are

  2. How far and in what ways does Oscar Wilde challenge these views on gender ...

    Gwendolen is clearly going to be more and more like her mother as she matures. Her mother, Lady Bracknell, is probably the most masculine character in the play. She is very pompous and the most assertive of all the characters.

  1. How Does Wilde Introduce the characters in A Woman Of No Importance

    Sir John, Lady Caroline's husband, plays an intriguing role within the exposition as he seems to be passive and submissive towards Lady Caroline and her struggle for power. This is a clear role reversal, as this is not what men would have been seen as in the Victorian era.

  2. Everything which ought to be of importance becomes merely trivial. Discuss "The Importance of ...

    ?Before the end of the week I shall got rid of him? the language sums up how death is used as an excuse and a way of disposing people no longer relevant. Wilde criticises the implication of adopting such stereotypical moral positions which require responsibility, acceptance of social codes and suppression of individual freedom.

  1. How does Wilde use marriage and courtship to create comedic and dramatic effects ...

    They give people the opportunity of finding out each other?s characters, which is never advisable.? Here, Wilde further reiterates the lack of love surrounding most conventional Victorian marriages, in the form of an epigram- a witty saying that tries to make a poignant comment about society.

  2. To what extent is Wilde satirising Victorian society in The Importance of Being Earnest ...

    Her question, ?you have a town house, I hope? A girl with a simple, unspoiled nature, like Gwendolen, could hardly be expected to reside in the country? is an inadvertently paradoxical statement, known as a linguistic inversion, is constructed upon the nonsensical reversal of the classical idea of the romantic

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work