What does Oscar Wilde's quote mean in reference to the play The Importance of Being Earnest and in general?
"It has as its philosophy ... that we should treat al the trivial things of life seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied trivality."
- I wanted to tie this quote into my conclusion paragraph in response to an essay question - How does Wilde satririze marriage through the varying viewpoints of the major characters - and thought I could put this towards this end to summerize my thoughts and to apply a broader application.
Wilde does an excellent job of supporting this quote with his play. He took such trivial things such as eating muffins or tea-cake or bread and butter and made them into a crazy fight scene between characters. In Act 1 Algy won't let Jack have any cucumber sandwiches, yet he eats them all himself and claims to his visiting aunt that the market was all out of cucumbers. Then he and Jack fight over muffins in the end of Act 2. Eating is a normal every day (trivial) discussion topic, yet Wilde turns that topic into a 3-ring circus.
Then with matters as serious as marriage, Wilde plays it as a joke. The women only want to marry the men because of the name "Ernest." Cecily has created a relationship with a man she has yet to meet. This satire is what makes the play so enjoyable. We often see these types of jokes on Saturday Night Live or in other shows similar to that. Most comedians today use this humor to entertain, just as Wilde did so many years ago.