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Discuss the importance of the Christening in The Importance of Being Earnest

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Discuss the importance of the Christening episode at the end of Act 2. How Important is this episode to the themes and concerns of the play as a whole? Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Earnest" touches upon a lot of social problems and issues that occurred and were dominant during the end of the nineteenth century period. Throughout the course of the play the audience realizes the view form which the play was written and that is Oscar Wilde's view of Englishness as he himself was Irish. All the characters in the play are satirised in a way so that they seem comical at certain times through which Wilde is mocking the higher class of the English society. As the audience finds out very soon from the beginning of the play, the importance of names is very significant as the two main characters Algernon and Jack both have other names so that they can escape form the normal life they live and step into a different world where they pretend to be someone else who doesn't exist in reality. ...read more.


The women in the play seem also to be quite judgemental towards names as the audience finds out. Both Gwendolen and Cecily have been lied by Algernon and Jack that they will marry a person who goes by the name of Ernest. Both women have in common their singled-minded persistence in pursuing a husband named Ernest. They have strong opinions, are able to deal with unexpected situations, and are connected in many instances by dialogue that is repetitive and parallel. Gwendolen knows what she wants. She comes to the country to pursue her Ernest, thinking she will rescue him. She tells Cecily, "If the poor fellow has been entrapped into any foolish promise, I shall consider it my duty to rescue him at once, and with a firm hand." From this scene where Gwendolen and Cecily first become friends then enemies and then bet friends again the audience can find out how Wilde is satirising not just the male part of the aristocratic society but the women in it as well. Wilde wanted to become more English than the English born themselves so that he is then able to ridicule the high classed English society. ...read more.


Food and greed suggest and substitute for other appetites and indulgences. Religion is referred to as a matter of form and plan. The significance of a person's baptism is not even a matter for concern when Jack and Algernon get the canon to agree to baptize them. A person's rebirth is only a matter of a name on a piece of paper. It is a means to an end because it will get both men what they want: Cecily and Gwendolen. Wilde created "The Importance of Being Earnest" to satirise and ridicule the upper class of the English society and also to show that aristocratic life is a life that is led and obsessed by materialism. Algernon and Jack both have double identities so that they are able to live two different lives. Both of the want to get christened only because they want to marry the women they think are in love with. Christening looses its meaning and becomes something totally demoralising. Wilde has emphasizes how degenerated the whole aristocratic society is by creating such comical characters and how pathetic and meaningless their actions and conversations are. ?? ?? ?? ?? Moni 12 DB ...read more.

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