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The Children Who Make Fashion Essay

1525 words - 7 pages

It has been said that ‘comedy, beginning in turmoil but ending in harmony, celebrates life.’ This relates well to ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ where Wilde proves that this comedy of manners does conform to this model since it traces the movement from distress to happiness. In this comedy of manners there is a movement from distress to happiness, even though some characters such as Algernon do not learn any lessons and stays ‘bad’.
The character of Jack is presented as a questionable character as we don’t know if he has learnt anything seeing that he didn’t have to repent since Wilde constructed the ending in a way where he was called Earnest. As Jack has lied to get what he wants we ...view middle of the document...

Even though, he may have some bad qualities, in the resolution, as it was by chance that his name was Earnest he asks for forgiveness, ’Can you forgive me?’ from Gwendolyn as he didn’t know that ‘his whole life he has been speaking nothing but the truth’ therefore, he can be seen as a virtuous person. On the contrary, in dramatic comedies as the same plots are used over and over again as stated by Hume , we as the audience know that Jack does win Gwendolyn and does reform in the process. However, as the audience find out that Jack’s name was actually ‘Earnest’ the ending is seen as being farcical and improbable. Therefore, this indicates that comedies do move from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ and the dénouement causes characters to show their true selves and realise their mistakes even though they may not have repented.
On the other hand, not all characters that Wilde has constructed have learnt from their mistakes as Algernon gets away with making up lies. In the resolution as he married ‘Cecily! [Embraces her.] At last!’ he can be seen as a character that stays ‘bad’ since there was no evidence that he loved Cecily during the course of the play. As this is the case, Powell’s theory of ‘bad characters having virtues’ is debatable since Algernon was constructed by Wilde to lie. But by doing so he contradicts the meaning behind ‘Earnest’ as he didn’t behave in a ‘good’ manner which also suggests that he was used by Wilde as a means of attacking men’s morals and behaviour in Victorian society. Therefore, as he lied to Cecily, his behaviour shows that he has lack of morals which could be the reason for him not being truthful in his relationship. Furthermore, unlike Jack as Algernon doesn’t value marriage and thinks that ‘in married life three is company and two is none’ he implies that he doesn’t believe that couples are faithful to each other after marriage, which shows that he doesn’t like any form of responsibility as faithfulness requires one to fulfil their duties. Thus, this indicates that Algernon, who is viewed by the audience as a rake, represents decadent morals of Victorian high society and is portrayed as a ‘bad’ person who only does what pleases himself. The fact that Algernon creates a fictional character who is an ‘invaluable permanent invalid’ called Bunbury shows that he is irresponsible as Bunbury conveniently draws him away from tiresome or distasteful social obligations which caused him to live a life of irresponsibility’s where he does not repent for his wrong doings. As his way of life is possibly parallel to Wilde’s life, Algernon represents the immoral side of Wilde that eventually would meet its downfall in a notorious trial. Moreover, in the resolution as Algernon tells Aunt Augusta that he is ‘engaged to be married to Cecily’ without apologising to her for lying, he is not a stock character as the dénouement usually causes characters to amend their ways which would then create an ideal ending. Even though he didn’t get...

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