Explore the Use of Duplicity and Deception in the Importance of Being Earnest

Topics: The Importance of Being Earnest, Meaning of life, Victorian era Pages: 3 (992 words) Published: November 2, 2008
Explore the use of Duplicity and Deception in the Importance of Being Earnest

The themes in Oscar Wilde´s “Importance of Being Earnest” such as hypocrisy, manners, dual identity, duplicity and deception are all closely linked throughout the play. One can see that the use of witticisms and hyperbole, combined with the themes Wilde commonly associates with Victorian lifestyle subtly, lightheartedly deride the audience. The effect of the theme duplicity and deception is essentially the criticism of the Victorian citizen. In creating the absurd lifestyle of his characters, he brings out what he feels are faults in society. The complications experienced by the characters are allegorical of the problems that the lifestyle creates, and the humour implicated throughout the storyline is simply to take the audiences focus off of the fact that they are being ridiculed. In this essay I will explore further when and why Wilde uses these themes, and how he puts them across in inoffensive ways.

Of course, the theme of duplicity revolves fully around the theme of deception in the play. Wilde explores the effects of having a dual identity in Victorian society, in the form Algernon and Jack´s “Bunburying”. This involves making up a friend in another area of the country, and visiting them, whilest in the role of an alter-ego. The men believe that this false setup helps them get through everyday life, by getting them out of situations they don’t want to be in.

“A man who marries without knowing Bunbury has a very tedious time of it” As well as explaining why the two men have dual identities, Oscar Wilde is also criticizing the contemporary view of marriage, and the values that go alongside

it. He thinks men see it as an achievement, but at the some time something that ends freedom, and prevents them from having fun. In this case one can see that Wilde uses an element of duplicity in his writing. This is significant, because as well as implementing duplicity as a theme...
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