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What are the main stages of the battle of the wits between Gwendolen and Cecily in act two? Who seems to win?

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Introduction

What are the main stages of the battle of the wits between Gwendolen and Cecily in act two? Who seems to win? Targets: * Refer closely to the text * Quote often but briefly * Refer to the story in the present tense * Use expressions such as; but, however, perhaps * Come to a clear conclusion There are five main stages in the battle of the wits between Gwendolen and Cecily. While they battle they use a number of weapons that include: rhetoric questions, patronage, epigrams, sarcasm, deliberate disobedience and bragging. From the very beginning when Gwendolen and Cecily first meet there seems to be an apparent grating of personalities. As soon as Gwendolen enters the scene she straightaway goes to shake Cecily's hand, which is quite a dominating action. It gives the impression that Gwendolen is taking charge and that Cecily in the extreme, is almost powerless to stop her. ...read more.

Middle

Little do each of them know that they are both engaged to a man that does not exists. Even though the ladies' tempers are fraying, they are very polite to each other. They almost come to blows but fortunately they don't. This may be because of the fact that Merriman enters in the nick of time. When I see a spade I call it a spade. I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different. (Enter Merriman, followed by the footman ... Cecily is about to retort. The presence of the servants exercises a restraining influence, under which both girls chafe.) They carry on insulting each other using stylish epigrams and satirical comments but less harsh. "I hate crowds. I suppose that is why you live in town? ...That is what the newspapers call agricultural depression, is it not? ...read more.

Conclusion

May I ask you - are you engaged to be married to this young lady? ... Of course not! What could have put such an idea into your pretty little head? However, this victory is also short lived when Gwendolen tells Cecily that she also is not marrying an earnest but in fact her cousin Algernon. "The gentleman who is now embracing you is my cousin, Mr Algernon Moncrieff." By the end of the battle it seems as if neither of the ladies has won. Both end their battle in each other's arms. "The two girls move towards each other and put their arms around each other's waists as if for protection" Even though the girls have fought, bitterly at times, throughout this short extract, they end with no apparent win or lose. If a judgement had to take place, it would seem that both of them have lost. Neither are very happy; they are both not engaged to a man named Ernest. ...read more.

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