How Far Do You Agree With The View That Lady Bracknell Does Create Comedy in The Importance of Being Earnest?

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How Far Do You Agree With The View That Lady Bracknell Does Create Comedy in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’? 

When deciding if a character creates comedy or not it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of their main attributes. For me, overall Lady Bracknell does create comedy so I agree with the view but as with anything else it is arguable. It is clear the her triviality, character inversion and Wilde’s use of stock character create comedy although it can be argued that she is nonsensical, used as a tool and only serves purpose as a parallel.  

When dealing with Lady Bracknell it is important to realise that her intellectually farcical dialogue makes her character the quintessence of the book’s title; she creates ‘trivial comedy’ yet is one of the ‘serious people’. From this simple observation we can infer that Wilde wants us to watch Lady Bracknell as she represent the book as a while in character form. An example of her character’s nature is when she makes a remark about the ‘unfashionable’ side of the street upon which Mr Worthing lives. She then says that they can change ‘both’ the fashion and the side. Upon the surface Lady Bracknell takes something as trivial as which side of the street he lives on and talks about it in such a serious tone that it creates humour. This also displays her use of witty dialogue as her quick yet humours reply helps Wilde to create a base for much of the fast paced intellectually comedy in the rest of the play. Therefore this analysis shows that she does create comedy via her use of tone and amusing dialogue. However, on a deeper level, the nonsensical dialogue takes away from the character’s realism. Then she is creating comedy exempt from the context of the play as people laugh at her unrealistic nature suggesting that she doesn’t create comedy within the play. A similar comment about Bunbury making up his mind ‘whether he will live or die’ can be analysed in the same way but it also provides yet another layer. It displays how Lady Bracknell can take serious topics and make them trivial, thereby creating humour via the relief theory, which would suggest her comment reduced the audience’s psychological tension when the topic of death arose. Ultimately, suggesting that Lady Bracknell does create comedy in the play. 

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Another point to consider whilst exploring the viewpoint above is the use of Lady Bracknell as a stock character. She can often fall into the category of stupid empty-headed aristocrats or people who take themselves too seriously. The aristocrat category which she falls into throughout the play allows Wilde to satirise society. For instance, when she says Jack being found in a handbag seems ‘to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life’. This statement creates comedy for several reasons; on the outer layer it may appear foolish because if you were found in a handbag it suggests ...

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