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GCSE: Oscar Wilde
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Oscar Wilde, began to pose as an Aesthete after he went to Oxford, and became somewhat of a celebrity after he was recognised for his talent in poetry. In the late 18th century, a philosopher named Immanuel Kant began to talk about the anatomy of art. 'Art serves no purpose', he says that art exists for its own sake, being beautiful. He says the artist should not be interested with the social view, simply just to create beauty. Benjamin Constant and Victor Cousin, both great writers of the Aesthetic movement, use the slogan 'L'art pour l'art', art for arts sake.
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Published in 1899, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a satirical interpretation of Victorian society
When Algernon/Ernest falls in love with Jack's pretty eighteen year old ward, Cecily, who believes his real name is Ernest, there are bound to be problems in store for them. However, all ends well at the end of the play. It is clear that both Gwendolen and Cecily are significant throughout the play. Gwendolen Fairfax, cousin of the whimsical bachelor Algernon and daughter of pompous Lady Bracknell represents the typical Victorian womanhood. As a member of high society, Gwendolen exhibits fashion and has a working knowledge of the latest trends.
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The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you. (p. 23)" And then in order to marry Gwendolen successfully, Jack determines immediately to be christened again, not even concerning the seriousness of religion. To be more ridiculous, Cecily Cardew also admits "there is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence (p. 47)", and Algernon Moncrieff, like Jack, also hurries on to be christened again.
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16)" and "Well, that is no reason why you should eat them [muffins] all in that greedy way (p. 56)", he apparently shows us the social rules of a gentleman. Cecily even thinks that "Dear Uncle Jack is so very serious (p. 33)". It seems that he is a very respectable gentleman; nevertheless, these dialogues show readers the hypocrisy of Jack entirely. Firstly, if he really gets by in that gentlemanly way, he would not have invented his brother Ernest to help him escape from the reality, which is absolutely ungentlemanly. Secondly, if he does think that eating manners of a man is that important, he will not have eaten the bread and butter in such a greedy way as on page 15.
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Explore Oscar Wildes presentation of his character Jack from his play The Importance of Being Earnest; showing how this character develops over the course of the action and the message he gives to the audience.
The phrase 'what else should bring one anywhere?' also suggests he is young and care free because he has no understanding that people might not travel for pleasure. He appears to be living in his own little world and has no idea that others struggle to find the money to survive and have to work very hard to do so. This is an important part of Oscar Wilde's message - that the rich were quite na�ve - but I will discuss this further later.
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He is very smart and quick to think of checking the Army Lists for his father's name. However, we see that when he is on the brink of finding his name, he gets excited and acts melodramatically. Algernon, on the other hand, is much more epicurean and informal with addressing the other characters, calling Jack, "old boy." He cannot even recall his own father's Christian name, using his premature death as an excuse. Lady Bracknell is stiff and mostly speaks indirectly, embellishing answers to Jack's questions.
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"Dorian Gray is my dearest friend.... He has a simple and a beautiful nature". Basil thinks Dorian is of a caring nature. Dorian appears to be human capable of no harm. The first time Dorian Gray meets Lord Henry is at Basil's residence. As they are conversing Lord Henry says "There is no such thing as influence, Mr Gray. All influence is immoral-immoral from the scientific point of view." These words shocked Dorian in such that he felt his body tremble as the information was being processed and calculated.
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On the other hand, it is an adjective and means, to be sincere, determined and serious. This is hilarious because it relates to how Jack and Algernon are rewarded with marriage even though they were the ones who did not act earnestly throughout the play. This makes the character realize the true importance of being "earnest". The whole play actually turns around this theme. Algernon and Jack are lying to the women they are in love with. Yet, towards the end of the play, they discover, that they hadn't been lying at all. In claiming to be Ernest, both men had been earnest without even knowing it...
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Remind yourself of the extract at the end of Act I, between Lord Illingworth and Mrs Allonby. What is the importance of this extract in the context of the whole play?
This socialist attitude extends to his appreciation of woman's equality with men and like Wilde, seems to be almost a male Feminist. Other characters such as Lady Caroline seem to be deliberately juxtaposed to the morality of Wilde. Wilde uses the seemingly predictable character of Lord Illingworth, to go beyond simply convention, as through him he discusses the issue of s****l politics and consequently, the different treatment of men and women after a s****l 'sin' had been committed. In dramatical terms, Lord Illingworth contributes significantly to the play, and the techniques used by Wilde to do this, have much the same effect on the audience today, as they would have in the late nineteenth century.
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He spent his summers with his family in Rural Waterford, Wexford and William Wilde's family home in Mayo. Oscar left Portora Royal School to study classics at Trinity College in Dublin from the age of sixteen to nineteen. He was a very high achiever; he won the Berkeley gold medal. This was the highest award existing to classic students at Trinity College. When he was nineteen Oscar was awarded a scholarship to Magdalen in Oxford, he studied at Magdalen college from 1874 - 1878.
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Match Girl: "Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying." Wilde shows the importance and value of good deeds and compassion in "The Happy Prince" The Swallow and "The Happy Prince" are both rewarded at the end of the story. The value of good deeds and compassion is shown by the swallow saying that he felt warm inside when he helped a boy that was ill and his mother, it is also shown when this is said: "Bring me the two most precious things in the city," said God to one of his angles; and the angel bought him the leaded heart and the dead bird."
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Oscar Wilde's tales contain many of traditional elements of popular fairy tales. His tales have characters representing both good and bad characters, characters that are either good or selfish and greedy. For example, in the "The Nightingale and the Rose" the image of the girl who the student loves is selfish as she didn't care about true love but only the jewellery she could have if she were to love a rich man. Oscar Wilde's characters are easily known by the character's outfit and descriptions.
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BY WHAT MEANS AND WITH WHAT SUCCESS DOES OSCAR WILDE MAKE ''THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST'' SUCH A MEMORABLE PLAY?
Humour is brought into the play in several different ways. A main element of humour is portrayed through certain characters. The characters' eccentricity seems so out of the ordinary, and is stepping out of line so much, that it can even be classified as totally abnormal behaviour, which as a result makes the play so much more memorable. It is quite evident that a classic example of abnormal and eccentric behaviour is Lady Bracknell. Her views are so 'over-the-top,' that it becomes significantly funny, and as a result causes the audience to laugh.
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Algernon's character is called Bunbury and Jack's character is called Ernest. By having another character Algernon can escape form the busy city life into the countryside and vice versa Jack becomes Ernest. At the start of Act one it is the first time that the audience realises about the double identity of the characters and also in this act Wilde is ridiculing how important names have become to the English aristocratic society "It is a divine name. It has music of its own".
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How does 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde use paradox to explore its aesthetic standpoint
The character of Henry Wotton is constructed as the philosophical idea of aesthetics. He includes in most conversations linguistic paradoxes, contrived in epigrams which subverts conventional views and manufactures truths to support his aesthetic ideology. "Philanthropic people lose all sense of humanity, it is their distinguishing characteristic". Henry's influence moulds Dorian life into one of aestheticism, however, by so doing he paradoxically contradicts his own philosophy by saying, "All influence is immoral....because to influence a person is to give him one's soul."
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His friend "Bunbury" allows him to escape from boring or unpleasant things. (sparknotes.com/lit/earnest/characters.html). Next is Gwendolen Fairfax whom is in love and obsessed with Jack's alter ego Ernest. She is Algernon's cousin and the daughter of Lady Bracknell. Gwendolen is the model of high fashion and high style. (sparknotes.com/lit/earnest/characters.html). Lady Bracknell is Algernon's aunt and Gwendolen's hard charging mother. Lady Bracknell epitomizes the greed and silliness of the British aristocracy, from her "list of eligible young men" she obliviously intends that Gwendolen marry should marry well as did her mother Lady Bracknell.
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The 'wicked aristocrat' and the 'virtuous maiden' are common characters in Victorian plays. Explore Wilde's purposes in his presentation of Lord Illingworth, Mrs Arbuthnot and Hester Worsley.
The 'virtuous maiden', one of them being Hester, also shows the ideas of the New Woman. She is very different to the other characters seen in high society, in a lot of her views she believes in equality between men and women, as did Wilde. She states that 'nothing should be out of the reach of hope' showing that she believes anything, such as equal opportunities for women, should be possible. This line is also used to show how Gerald should be able to move up in social status. Through this quotation we can also see that the character of Hester does not worry about social class which is also shown when she states her view of Gerald saying that 'Mr Arbuthnot is very charming' despite his low status.
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Comparison Essay Between 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde and 'Pack of Lies' written by Hugh Whitmore
Gwendolen and Cecily reveal their true selves, especially in the tea scene. Oscar Wilde set his play during the Victorian era that he lived in, the late 19th Century. 'Pack of Lies,' was written by Hugh Whitmore in 1983 and performed in the same year. It is set in a London suburb in the early sixties, 1961, and is based on true events. The play opens as the Jackson family greets their good friends and neighbours, the Krogers. The Jacksons are quickly thrust into the middle of an investigation by the mysterious Stewart, who tells them that the Krogers are Russian spies.
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However, his character is also over exaggerated. Jack has worked for his wealth and status and is therefore sensible, if a little audacious. He trys to follow convention but is not necessarily able to follow the rules set down by society; e.g. he has no fashion sense whilst fashion is important to most. Jack, an innocent person, who never wins verbal battles, is unable to conceal his deceits and therefore is found out a number of times; for example when Algy finds his silver cigar casewith the name 'Jack' iengraved in it instead of 'ernest' (in the first scene).
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Throughout the story what is implied constantly hangs doubt over his intentions, escpecially with the two girls who he gained "great satisfaction from" from watching eat. At the end of the story, Sillitoe lashes out at the ignorant, prejudice society. The audience is moved because they, like the insecure society were also made to cast doubt on the intentions of Ernest. To an extent Miss Havisham is not too dis-similar ; Dickins has used words and phrases which have similar connotations.
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Earnest informs her that he does not know anything from his childhood, including who his parents are, and why he became an orphan; and now is thought to be unacceptable suitor to marry her daughter, Gwendolen. Lady Bracknell reinforces to Jack that "to be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution"(Wilde, 1440), basically stating that having a hand bag for a parent is an unacceptable "notion about family life" (Parker), and needed to find out who his parents are before he can marry Gwendolen.
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What do we learn of Wilde's view of the English Country House Weekend Parties in Late Victorian Society in Act 1 of "A Woman of No Importance"?
It also shows that the social status of a person in England is of much more importance than the social status of a person in America. Wilde himself visited America in 1882. It seems that he was not a fan of the country and in this play it seems many of the characters including Lord Illingworth is not a fan of it either. In Act One, Lord Illingworth says that when bad Americans die they go to America. This is something Wilde himself was quoted on saying to an American reporter and seems to sum up Wilde's view of the country, suggesting that he too does not admire the working class, choosing to admire those who inherited their wealth instead.
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He wanted to stay young forever, and as unchanging as the wonderful portrait that was painted of him. Later on, in a reckless moment, he did many sinful deeds. Mysteriously and supernaturally, the portrait changes from a handsome man to a man with a horrible face. The many years of sin had become etched on the picture. The story takes place in Basil Hallward's London studio. His studio was filled with the smell of roses. The breeze during summer moved the trees which made hissing sounds in his garden. The room had the smell of mainly lilacs.
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I find this humorous as I doubt that the fact he had no parents was his lack of responsibility as he was only a young child. Another comical quotation is in Act two where Jack says "will you go if I change my clothes?" To which Algernon replies "I never saw anybody take so long to get dressed, and with such little result." Wilde also liked to play on words by switching just one expected adjective with its opposite. "Washing one's clean linen in public."
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Jack is in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax, Algy's cousin and the daughter of the authoritative Lady Bracknell . When Jack realizes that Gwendolyn fancies him as well (she insists that she was destined to marry an Ernest and will have a man by no other name), he proposes. Lady Bracknell objects. No daughter of hers shall marry without the suitor getting a thorough grilling interview, of which it seems not many survive the first few minutes ... "I have always been of opinion that a man who desires to get married should either know everything or nothing.
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