Earnest Essay: Double Life

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The concept of a double life is the most significant element of the play as it allows Wilde to satire the Victorian hypocrisy through the characters of Jack, Miss Prism and Dr Chasuble. Firstly, the playwright introduces Jack Worthing as a seemingly respectable and responsible young man who lives in Hertfordshire and takes care of his young ward ‘I know no one who has a higher sense of duty and responsibility’ (Wilde,2012). In the country, he is known as a serious, dependable man who rescues his younger brother Ernest from constant mischief but in reality, he himself is the wicked Ernest. Wilde utilises Jack’s double life to mock the widespread false morality and hypocrisy among the Victorian aristocrats. The protagonist carries a reputation of a man who believes in the notions of honour and duty but at the same time ignores those values in his personal life. The identity of Ernest allows him to pursue pleasure, escape obligations and to upkeep an image of an important pillar of the community. ‘You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to town as often as you like’ (Wilde,2012). Jack’s lack of guilt portrays his elevation of appearance over reality, like most Victorian aristocrats he sees his reputation as of bigger value than virtue. Wilde uses the practice of Bunburying to satire Jack’s false morality and the general acceptance of hypocrisy during the Victorian period. Secondly, the …show more content…
The playwright’s skilful utilisation of a double life results in a pleasurable comedy but also comments on the societal morality by highlighting its gradual degeneration. The play’s powerful combination of humour and moral criticism leaves the reader with a new perspective of the Victorian

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