Deception in Importance of Being Earnest and M.Butterfly

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Deception- who, how, why? what happens as a result of the deception? oImportance of being Earnest (Oscar Wilde) →

Mr. John/Jack Worthing pretends to have a brother named Earnest that he has to go visit in the city. When he is in the city, he pretends to be his brother Earnest. Mr. Algernon Moncreif lives in the city and pretends to have a friend named Bunburry that he has to visit whenever he wants to escape a social engagement. He goes to visit John Worthing in the country and pretends to be John’s brother, Ernest. Prior to this, Jack had already mentioned to Algernon that as soon as he proposes to Gwendelon, he is going to “kill” his brother Ernest. When he arrives in the city he tells Miss Prism and Cecily that Ernest died. Cecily gets upset because she has had a long time crush on him. All the sudden, Algernon shows up to Jack country house as Ernest, everyone was confused. He introduced himself as Ernest and Jack had a steamy/pissed look in his face. Both men decide to get re-christened as “Earnest”. When the women find out that they lied about their names they get upset and initially decide to no longer marry the men. However, because of the deception, we are able to find out the true name of John Worthing and also that he actually does have a brother (Algernon). Oscar Wilde is commenting on the fakeness of society. He choses to make fun of upperclass society by making fun of the superficial items that they find to be important. Bunburrying is a way to escape from the falsities of upperclass social life. two face quality Another point: The play’s title can be deceptive. Rather than a form of the name Ernest, the title implies earnestness as a quality one should seek to acquire, as in being honest, sincere, sober, and serious.

M. Butterfly →
Song deceived Gallimard for the entirety of the play- He pretends to be an Asian woman and manipulates Gallimard to fall in love with her. This leads to Song’s ability to spy for the...
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