In the Importance of Being Earnest, dramatic irony is throughout the play which leads to many humorous events. Dramatic irony is a type of irony where the audience fully understands the situation while the character is unaware of it. The lack of knowledge the character has about their situation is amusing in the play.
First example of dramatic irony that turns into humor is when Jack confesses his love to Gwendolen and she also feels the same way but for a different reason than his. She says, “My ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest. There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence. The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.” Gwendolen tells him that the only reason she love him is because his name is Ernest which the audience know it’s not, his name is Jack. This turns into ...view middle of the document...
” She is saying she would never want to get married with someone named Jack but yet she is without knowing. Gwendolen seriously just wants a man named Ernest because she assumes they will be Earnest.
The second example of dramatic irony is when Cecily and Gwedolen meet and like each other until they discover that they’re both engaged to Ernest. Cecily says, “Dearest Gwendolen, there is no reason why I should make a secret of it to you. Our little county newspaper is sure to chronicle the fact next week. Mr. Ernest Worthing and I are engaged to be married.” This statement seems to confuse Gwedolen, she then responds, “My darling Cecily, I think there must be some slight error. Mr. Ernest Worthing is engaged to me. The announcement will appear in the Morning Post on Saturday at the latest.” They automatically think Ernest is two timing them which we know is false. They suddenly become rude and dislike each other. It’s funny because they think their fighting over the same man but we know they are not. When the truth comes out that both men lied to them, all of the sudden Miss Cardew and Gwendolen become friends again. Their behavior is so unbelievable it’s funny.
The last example is when Algernon is talking to Jack and has doubts about who he really is. Algernon uses Jack’s card as proof that he must be Ernest and says, “It is perfectly absurd you’re saying that your name isn’t Ernest. It is on your cards”. We all know that Jack isn’t Ernest but Algernon is debating if it’s true or not. Algernon is able to understand Jack might be living a double life which we know is true. Gwendolen seems to be too naïve to understand it. For example Jack says, “But you don't really mean to say that you couldn't love me if my name wasn't Ernest?” Jack is kind hinting that his name is not Ernest while Gwendolen just responds, “But your name is Ernest.”
Dramatic irony seems to make the Importance of being Earnest more interesting since it creates a lot of humor. The audience knew that Jack’s name wasn’t really Ernest, Cecily and Gwendolen weren’t really going to marry the same guy, and that Algernon was right doubt Jack’s identity.