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General Structure of Comedy with reference to the Importance of Being Earnest

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Introduction

General Structure of Comedy: * Things start out badly and end well * The deeper aim is broadly social: the kingdom or other city space is at first badly ruled or in turmoil for some reason--perhaps the values and institutions of the citizens and/or rulers are in need of some re-examination. * Next, the main characters leave (willingly or otherwise) the city setting and wind up in the countryside, in a pastoral setting. This setting allows for the necessary re-examination of values and social roles. * Magical transformations of characters occur; they are put in situations that could not occur in the city or the kingdom; the forest or countryside's magic opens up new possibilities to them. * After this reappraisal and readjustment period has been completed, the main characters come together--the young by marriage, the foundational institution of the civil order and its only hope for regeneration. * Finally, the characters return to the "kingdom" proper or are about to return when the play ends. ...read more.

Middle

to get together and on the many obstacles they must first overcome. So the structure of Wilde's play is traditional. As for the play's subject matter and dialogue, the play takes for its most basic subject "the relations and intrigues of men and women living in a polished and sophisticated society"--indeed, Lady Bracknell calls the late Victorian Era "an age of surfaces." The dialogue also largely fits the bill: the play is full of "wit and sparkle," and it has its fair share of repartee: "a witty conversational give-and-take which constitutes a kind of verbal fencing match." Many of the characters box their way through the play with quick linguistic jabs, some of them sounding suspiciously like the kind of sharp, opportunistically intelligent remarks that made Wilde himself London's social lion until his downfall in 1895. Wilde reacted AGAINST these ideas in Victorian society: * Industrialisation * Hypocrisy/complacency/artificiality * Romantic View of Nature (he saw it as crude, unshaped * "Barbarians" - the aristocracy * "Philistines" - the affluent middle classes (def. ...read more.

Conclusion

(until Jack discovers his real name and family at the end.) "It has always been my ideal to love someone by the name of Ernest." One view among critics is that Wilde is saying that marriage based on class by birthright is no less stupid that marriage based on something else a baby cannot control: say, his name. In the play many other examples occur of things that cannot be controlled but people act as if they could be: "Some aunts are tall, some aunts are not tall. That is surely a matter that an aunt may be allowed to decide for herself." "I think it is high time that Mr Bunbury made up his mind whether he was to live or die." The play also trivialises other things, like religion, death, customs and manners, etc. For instance, when Algy tells his Aunt Augusta that his friend Bunbury died when his doctors told him he could not possibly live, her only concern is that he acted under the proper medical advice of his physician. ...read more.

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