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The Importance of Being Earnest

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This play was first written as a comedy, but doing so the writer Oscar Wilder made a satire regarding the upper class and what there values and morals are. But more then that it shows us how being truthful is not so simple. This is about two characters one name Jack and the other Algermon. They both pretend to be someone they are not, which in returns makes both of them untruthful therefore they are not earnest. We as society, deem people who are not who they say they are as being dishonest to the point of immoral. So with this attributes we would consider both men immoral people.

Wilde believes that society as a whole is always in performance, and what I mean by this is most people are acting in one way or another, in there everyday life. We have become so use to how we act that it no longer seems to be artificial, nor is immoral that is what wilder in my opinion portraying in this play. So how can it be immoral to pretend to be something your not or even untruthful if it really isn't hurting anyone and it is benefiting one's life. As long as no one found out about the untruthfulness it really isn't. This is how these two characters saw their behavior. . Algernon and Jack's performances, as well as all of ours, are a form of art, and as a result, should not be subjected to any type of moral judgment.

As you read this play you yourself are thrown into contradiction. Even though you are taught that the only way to live life is to be honest, you soon realize that it is not always possible to be honest and that you can't always be who you truly are because of how society is so judgmental on different issues. So when Jack question whether or not one is truly capable of being honest and authentic. You can understand his thought process. But when Jack himself is forced into admitting that he never had a brother named Ernest, he says, "It is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind" (227-228).

Even though this line was considered very humorous, to me it makes a serious philosophical statement. At this time I believe Jack tries to transcend his character and that statement is speaking for all humanity. Which is a simple repeat of Algermans earlier assertion that "the truth is rarely pure and never simple" in a more personal and purposeful way (189). Jack then of course in his justification of his untruthfulness thinks that it is absurd for anyone to force anyone else to be truthful because in fact humans are incapable of making a difference between being dishonest and being truthful to



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