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Compare and contrast Act One and Act Two

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Compare and contrast Act One and Act Two Throughout act one and act two, there is a huge amount of drama, comedy and sarcasm. Combining to form a carefully formed section of this immensely funny play. In these two acts there are examples of; love, arguments, deceit, 'death' and engagement; all this within the space of two days in the lives of young aristocrats. In act one; the scene is set in the "morning-room in Algernon's flat in Half-moon Street. The room is luxuriously and artistically furnished", immediately displaying Algernon's extravagant nature. In Act two, the scene is set in the "garden at the Manor House. A flight of grey stone steps leads up to the house. The garden, an old-fashioned one, is full of roses. Basket chairs, and a table covered with books, are set under a large yew-tree". The obvious differences in the scene settings is due to the fact hat act one is set in the town and act two is set in the country. Compared to Algernon's "artistically furnished" flat, the country house appears to be much more contemporary, with a much calmer atmosphere. In act one, there are many introductions of the characters. Algernon, Jack, Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen and Lane are all revealed to the audience. The events throughout the scene result in, for almost everyone a smile, or even a giggle due to the blunt and sarcastic nature of the characters. The first conversation in act one is between Algernon and Lane; his butler. The relationship between these two characters goes against the audience's expectations; they appear to be of equal status, not as a relationship should be between an upper class aristocrat and his butler in that time. In this conversation, Algernon is immediately portrayed as arrogant and cynical; and Lane is seen as sly and subversive. Lane then exits and Jack comes into the room. ...read more.


I feel rather frightened. I am ever so afraid he will look just like every one else." This assumption produces a comic effect because 'wicked' people rarely look any different to normal people. When Cecily first meets 'Ernest' she is unusually confident and surprises Algernon by her forward manner, and Cecily tells him that Jack is planning to send him off the Australia, Algernon responds to this by saying, " The accounts I have received of Australia and the next world are not particularly encouraging. This world is good enough for me, Cousin Cecily." This is amusing for the audience because Algernon does not seem very worried that Jack wants to send him to Australia. Algernon then asks Cecily if she will help reform him at the same time as flirting with her; she responds by saying, "I'm afraid I've no time this afternoon". This has a comic effect because to completely change someone is obviously going to take more than one afternoon. The final comical aspect of this dialogue is when Cecily says; " Oh, I don't think I would care to catch a sensible man. I shouldn't know what to talk to him about". Dr Chasuble and Miss Prism return from their walk just as 'Ernest' and Cecily pass into the house. They are talking about Dr Chasuble's love life, Miss Prism believes that "men should be more careful; this very celibacy leads weaker vessels astray", she thinks that Chasuble should get married because that way he would not be a temptation for women. Just as they were wondering where Cecily is, Jack comes into the garden, [dressed in the deepest mourning, with cr�pe hatband and black gloves ]. He tells Miss Prism and Chasuble of the death of his brother Ernest; this produces dramatic irony because Jack does not know that Algernon has come to the house posing as his brother. ...read more.


The relationship between Gwendolen and Cecily drastically changes as [the two girls move towards each other and out their arms round each other's waists as if for protection. ]. They ask Jack and Algernon if what they have heard is true, they both say that it is, even though "it is very painful for me [Jack] to be forced to speak the truth". This confession goes against the audience's expectations producing a comic effect because normally people may find it painful to tell a lie then to tell the truth. Gwendolen and Cecily decide that they are going to resign to the house because they have just found out that they are both not engaged to anyone, and "it is not a very pleasant position for a young girl suddenly to find herself in." Jack and Algernon are left alone in the garden and the girls retire to the house. The last section of Act Two is the conversation between Algernon and Jack. They talk about Gwendolen and Cecily and how they feel about them. However, Jack makes it very clear that he is not sure that Algernon and Cecily will actually marry, and Algernon states that he thinks it very unlikely that Jack and Gwendolen will marry. The conversation soon sways onto the christenings and Algernon advises Jack that; "If you are not quite sure about your ever being Christened, I must say I think it rather dangerous your venturing on it now. It might make you very unwell". This produces a comic effect because it is completely impossible that being christened will make you unwell. The Act closes on Jack and Algernon arguing over the muffins that are being served on the table, showing their almost childish relationship. In conclusion, there are many similarities between Act One and Act Two, this could be part of what makes it so comical. The characters have developed the plot up to the climax, there is only the end to be revealed. In Act Three all of the deceit and the mysteries will be solved. 1 ...read more.

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