Explore how Wilde brings to life the two different characters in this passage and what does the passage reveal about their relationship with each other?
This is an extract taken from the First Act of the play The Importance of Being Earnest which is written by the English writer, Oscar Wilde in the 19th century. This play is a comedy of manners, which satirizes the values during the Victorian Era. In this extract, the setting is only in the city - specifically in Algernon’s flat in Half-Moon street - although in the full play, the settings are between the city and the countryside. In this particular extract, we can already tell how close Algernon and Jack are with each other from the way they are able to act comfortably and speak whatever they think to each other, without having to restrain themselves. Oscar Wilde brings to life and reveal the characters relationships with one another through the use of dialogue, appearance and physical actions.
Algernon Moncrieff, as we can tell from where he lives - in Half-Moon Street - is an upper class gentleman. He is the perfect example of a member of the wealthy class, living a life of total bachelorhood. Algernon is always irresponsible, irrelevant and absurd. He is very self-absorbed, allowing Oscar Wilde to point out how many of the upperclassman during the Victorian Era is usually narcissistic.
Algy is given witty, absurd and nonsensical lines along with epigrams to show his humor and disrespect of the society he lives in. When arguing with Jack in the extract, Algernon says, “I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury.” Algy created this imaginary friend to provide excitement in his otherwise boring and dull life of Victorian England.
Jack Worthing is also a respected upper class gentleman, but only because of his adoptive father’s fortune. Same as Algy, Jack had also created an imaginary someone, called Ernest, whom he tells everybody in the county is his brother, when...
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