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AS and A Level: The Importance of Being Earnest

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 1
  1. Marked by a teacher

    The Importance of Being Earnest - 'We live, as I hope you know, Mr Worthing, in an age of ideals' what are these ideals in the context of the play in Act One, and how does Wilde present them to the audience?

    5 star(s)

    Lane's response: 'I didn't think it polite to listen, sir' is indicative of various aspects of his position. Firstly, his butlership requires that he should abstain from partaking in any activity considered to be distracting to his duties, of which listening to the piano would be one. Secondly, his position in society, that of one of the lower classes, demands utter obsequiousness, hence any comment on Algernon's playing would be risky in case it appeared to be unflattering. The ideal of social standing being absolute is immediately challenged by Wilde, as it is quite preposterous that Lane should think it not polite to listen, a distinctly ironic and seditious undertone is palpable.

    • Word count: 1196
  2. How Does Wilde Introduce the characters in A Woman Of No Importance

    She is persistent in patronising Miss Worsley and takes amusement in insulting her about her American heritage. 'I am not sure Miss Worsley, that foreigners like you should cultivate likes or dislikes'. This statement shows that Lady Caroline places herself above Miss Worsley in society, although she is a Lady, and Hester has no title. Lady Caroline clearly thinks that everything she says is correct, as in conversation with Lord Kevil she comments that she is 'usually right', even though she refers to Lord Kelvil as Kettle, and she has to be corrected by her passive husband, Sir John.

    • Word count: 1199
  3. What do you find funny in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'?Consider what dramatic devices Wilde uses to create the comedy.(You should analyse in detail at least 3 comic moments).

    The bachelors only relax when they are alone. We see their idle nature almost immediately through the character's trivial preoccupation with food, one of the themes of the play. In the first few lines of dialogue in the opening scene, we witness Wilde's witty way with words and the consequent humour he creates in the scene. Algernon, avoids admitting that he plays poorly and claims that he plays with 'wonderful expression', as though doing so were more transcendent. He emerges to be quite a conceited character and it seems that Wilde intends him to represent the pompous nature of the rich, rather like Lady Bracknell does.

    • Word count: 3556
  4. This essay is comparing the 1952 film and the 2002 film, 'The Importance of being Earnest'

    The second film starts with Algy being chased, making him seem mysterious, and so you want to watch and find out why. The films vary from the play, although some bits have been added in, and taken out, to make the film shorter. In the 2002 film a lot more new scenes have been added in. In the latest film, in 2002, Aunt Augusta checks 'Jacks' name, and once again 'Jack is not very Earnest. The first film was a bit disappointing, due to the fact it missed out a funny line, and said it very slowly; When Lady Bracknell is talking about long engagements.

    • Word count: 1550
  5. How far and in what ways does Oscar Wilde challenge these views on gender in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'?

    not completely free and wouldn't dare be assertive with Lady Bracknell as she has more power and more masculine traits than Algy does. Algy is assertive with Jack, for example when he makes him dine with him at "Willis'" even though Jack, clearly doesn't want to go. Algy only appears to be assertive with Jack because Jack is passive and pliant. Algy expresses most of the quick wit throughout the play and often expresses some rather cynical views on things and Jack, because he cannot argue with Algy, will ineffectively reply "Oh, that's non-sense!"

    • Word count: 1394
  6. ' 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.

    However, instead of being polite when Lane replies 'yes sir' it is meant sarcastically to undermine Algernon. Wilde uses Lane's wit at the very opening of the play to make a controversial statement on how he thinks the upper class are dim-witted. He shows Algernon to be slow on the uptake compared to Lane, the mere servant, to be quick witted and undermine Algernon without him even realising it. The next scene I would consider uses epigrammatic talk is the scene where Cecily and Gwendolen discover they are both engaged to Ernest.

    • Word count: 1078
  7. What is learnt about attitudes towards marriage in Act 1 of The Importance of Being Earnest.

    It is not surprising that Algy, later on in Act 1, expresses such cynical views of marriage. Lane touches on the lower class's attitudes towards marriage briefly in this scene. Lane says that he has had very little experience of marriage he explains that he was "...only married once and that was a misunderstanding between himself and a young person." The humour in this line lies in the point that experience shouldn't normally be measured in the amount of times one is married but the number of years one has lived in a marriage.

    • Word count: 937
  8. In What ways does Wilde Attempt to amuse His Audience in Act Three of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’?

    She is an example of an exaggerated stereotype, a comical device use by Wilde. It seems that Wilde has attempted to make the main subjects of the play, Algernon and Jack, the most realistic also. Wilde also uses many linguistic techniques to add to the humour of the third act. One of these is the use of paradoxes. These are statements that seem to be self contradictory, but may be true. For example, 'All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy.

    • Word count: 842
  9. How does Wilde use marriage and courtship to create comedic and dramatic effects in "The Importance of being Earnest"?

    Clearly, she means relations of high status, as proof that Jack belongs to the same social class. The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy of manners, and marriage is a concern of Wilde?s throughout. Neil King states that, ?Comedy of Manners is a broad term which defines a drama in which the social behaviour (or manners) of a section of the community is humorously portrayed.? This is certainly apparent in Wilde?s work, where he draws on the ridiculousness of his society?s boundaries and conventions, and satirises the upper classes through the use of epigrams and hyperbole, in order to

    • Word count: 1450
  10. To what extent is Wilde satirising Victorian society in The Importance of Being Earnest and how does this add to its comedy?- ALTERED

    infer from this that he believed in the idea of marriage for love, proving by extension that it was the Victorian attitudes to marriage that he intended to ridicule and not marriage in general. This concurs with the inference of academic Danielle N. Baxley as she infers that ?Wilde shows us how the upper class does not marry for love or happiness but for convenience and social standing?. One of the most farcical scenes in the play, Lady Bracknell?s interrogation of Jack, is perhaps the most explicit example of a satirical attack on the Victorian approach to marriage.

    • Word count: 1761
  11. To what extent is Wilde satirising Victorian society in The Importance of Being Earnest and how does this add to its comedy?

    He views it as a disease, one that to be bearable needs an escape: ?Nothing will induce me to part with Bunbury, and if you ever get married? you will be very glad to know Bunbury. A man who marries without knowing Bunbury has a very tedious time of it.? ?Bunbury? (who is he) is a direct metaphor for Algernon?s deceit and escape from social expectation. He is a fictitious person; one that Algernon suggests is needed in general life but indeed emphasises that this is the case most particularly when one is married.

    • Word count: 2011
  12. Everything which ought to be of importance becomes merely trivial. Discuss "The Importance of Being Earnest" as a comedy of importance and triviality.

    Andrew Stott states comedy is ?an experience of pleasurable merrymaking and social inversion? which play hinges around heavily. Miss Prism?s response to Jack ?I am unmarried? empathizes how marriage is the most powerful layer to protection of reputation despite the current situation of Jack?s identity. Personal fortune is regarded as an essential by the upper class of Victorian society ?A hundred and thirty thousand pounds and in the funds Miss Cardew seems to me a most attractive young lady now that I look at her, few girls of the present day have any really solid qualities ?The fact that solid

    • Word count: 1762

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent is Wilde satirising Victorian society in The Importance of Being Earnest and how does this add to its comedy?

    "To conclude, it is fair to say that Wilde has incorporated many forms of comedy however, I believe that satire is the largest component of the play but does require the intelligence for a thorough understanding that lends the play a stylish flair. The satirical nature of the play allows Wilde to adopt this didactic tool and ridicule Victorian concepts of earnestness, marriage and morals yet using the comedy to mask his underlying social commentary and making it socially acceptable to criticise."

  • To what extent is Wilde satirising Victorian society in The Importance of Being Earnest and how does this add to its comedy?- ALTERED

    "To conclude, Wilde’s use of satire in The Importance of Being Earnest is of a didactic yet humorous nature to make the Victorian upper class reflect on their regulated, restrictive attitude to every aspect of life. The play’s subtitle, “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People” encapsulates Wilde’s aim to convey the message that these aristocrats take insignificant, “trivial” aspects of their lives, for example the need for “cucumber sandwiches”, due to their upper-class connotation, and take them to an superfluously grandiose levels to express their superior social status."

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