Essay on The Double Life in the Importa

1382 Words Oct 14th, 1999 6 Pages
The Double Life in The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest appears to be a conventional 19th century farce. False identities, prohibited engagements, domineering mothers, lost children are typical of almost every farce. However, this is only on the surface in Wilde’s play. His parody works at two levels- on the one hand he ridicules the manners of the high society and on the other he satirises the human condition in general. The characters in The Importance of Being Earnest assume false identities in order to achieve their goals but do not interfere with the others’ lives. The double life led by Algernon, Jack, and Cecily (through her diary) is simply another means by which they …show more content…
About everything, I should fancy. You have an absolutely trivial nature."(50)

To soothe a dying friend or to help a fallen brother is a respectable excuse to get away from the repressive convention. Bunburying is the reason for all the mistaken identities. Algernon is serious about Bunburying as the Bunburyist is serious about not being serious. The trifle is that to be serious about everything is to be serious about nothing. The Bunburyist lives in a world of irresponsibility in which there is always the danger of causing a moral anarchy.

In Wilde’s opinion Victorians who want to retain the respect of the conventional society lead double life- one respectable and one frivolous. He creates a world in which the laws of the society have no power and the double life can be revealed. Bunburyism is a way of life which offers relief from the restrictive social norms. Wilde’s characters live in a world in which order is constantly vanishing and they scorn stability and simplicity. "The truth", as Algy says, "is rarely pure and never simple."(13) Algy and Jack fulfil their wishes by the means of lying. They are impostors who use false identities in order to free themselves from the hypocrisy of the convention. Their tricks simply serve them as a way to achieve their moral freedom. The relationship between Jack and Gwendolen

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