The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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What is the significance of the word absurd in The Importance of Being Earnest, and what do the characters find absurd?

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When Algernon and Jack are debating the honor of reading the message engraved in another man's cigarette case, Algernon declares that "it is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't." He claims that a large portion of modern culture actually depends on reading things that one is not supposed to. In the same conversation, Jack declares that it is absurd for Algernon "to think that every aunt should be exactly like [Algernon's] aunt." Also, when Jack tells Algernon that his real name is Jack and not Ernest, Algernon declares that it "is perfectly absurd" to say such a thing.

Later, Algernon...

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