Dualism in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Author: Sara Fridell; [2014-07-04]

Keywords: Oscar Wilde; post-colonialism; identity; dualism; duplicity; satire;

Abstract: Abstract: In this essay I explore the dualism in Oscar Wilde’s most famous society comedy The Importance of Being Earnest. My thesis is that Wilde employed the well-established Late Victorian concept of double identity as well as a dualistic theme in the play, revealed in the language and in the strategies of lying, in order to exploit the hypocrisy of the society, i.e. the ruling class. The focus of the argument has been to analyse the characters, the double language and the lying in the play in a historical, a biographical and, in part, a colonial context to disclose a higher intent of the work and to fully understand the wit in the play.

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