Compare the relationships between Jack and Gwendolen with that of Algernon and Cecily in Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Oscar Wilde's play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," the two sets of couples have many similarities between them. First, both sets of relationships are based on the fact that the female does not know the true name of her beloved when they commit to their engagements. Both men vow to be christened again with the name of Earnest after hearing that the female in the relationship loves the name. And, as required by the social norms of the time period, both sets must have guardian permission before each marriage can take place. Both potential brides find out that they were lied to about their fiances' names at the same time and both are equally shocked to have discovered the lie. The number of similarities between the two couples causes and uncanny irony that aides in the development of the plot and creates humor and tension at the same time.