The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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Analyze the comic appeal of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest with close reference to the text.

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This play is above all else a comedy of manners, which means that it finds humor in the conflict between how one is expected to behave in society on the one hand, and one's individual desires on the other. Wilde wrote this play in the Victorian period which, at least if you belonged or had aspirations of belonging to the upper classes, was a period characterized by strict rules of etiquette and emotional repression.

In the play, Jack is the personification of the conflict between social expectations and personal desires. When he is at his country estate in Hertfordshire he is known as Jack (or John) and he adopts the facade of a respectable Victorian gentleman ("one has to adopt a very high...

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