Question: In What sense is The Importance of Bering Earnest an artificial comedy (or a farcical comedy). Or, The Importance of Being Earnest as a farcical comedy. Or, Comment on the absurdity in Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest”. The Importance of Being Earnest as a Farcical Comedy
“The Importance of Being Earnest” (1899) written by famous Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) is one of the best paradigms of farcical comedy. Farcical comedy is a type of comedy that is created to provoke the audience’s hearty laughter which generally employs highly exaggerated and extravagant characters and “puts them into improbable and ludicrous situations”. In the play, Oscar Wilde expresses a picture of artificial society given to immortality, affection, and fashion.
Farcical comedy is a kind of comedy in which the writer satirizes social hypocrisy, deception, arrogance, and low-mindedness through laughs and mocks. Through the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” Wilde reveals the absurdity of the Victorian aristocracy.
Wit and humor
Oscar Wilde is a fabulously funny and witty writer. His humor in the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” depends on creating absurd situations, reversals, and characters whose lack of insight causes them to respond to these situations inappropriately. Wilde uses wit and humor through the characters such as Lady Bracknell, Jack Worthing, Algernon, Miss Prism, and so on.
Use of pun
The pun is a joke using the different possible meanings of the word. We know that language is the most important fact of the play. According to the critics, Oscar Wilde creates a verbal universe in this play in which language is used to translate life itself into an aesthetic phenomenon. The heroine of the play says:
“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life”
The playwright satirizes the whimsical women in Victorian high society by mentioning the way they choose their life partners. Both Gwendolen and Cecily are obsessively fascinated by the name ‘Ernest’. It is in the heroine’s tongue:
“It is a divine name. It has a music of its own. It produces vibrations.”
The exaggeration suggests how most of the Victorian ladies were obsessed with superficial things like appearance and decorum.
The prime important farcical situation of the play is Jack’s being found by Thomas Cardew in a handbag in the cloakroom of a railway station in London. The absurdity of the play lies in the fact that Miss Prism, the nurse, out of her forgetful nature placed the baby in a leather handbag and her three-volume novel in perambulator instead of putting the baby in the perambulator and the manuscript of the novel in the handbag. This is extremely absurd to believe that how can anybody commit a mistake of this kind. It is not over yet, even after committing such a blunder, she and her employers had not back to the railway station to search for the baby. Another absurdity is about Mr. Thomas Cardew, a gentleman who found Jack. The absurdity lies in the fact that he named the child Worthing because he was having a first-class railway ticket for a seaside resort called Worthing.
Wilde in the play uses a satirical tone that means he uses a ridiculous and sweet tone but through this tone, he expresses social hypocrisy, deception, arrogance, and low-mindedness. When Lady Bracknell hears that Bunbury died, she reacts without compassion. like other aristocrats, Lady Bracknell is too busy worrying about her own life. Gwendolen who knows from her mother is totally self-absorbed and definite about what she wants. She tells Cecily:
“I never travel without my diary. One should have something sensational to read in the train.”
Art of characterization
Wilde represents a variety of types of characters in his play such as witty, humorous, arrogant, good, and bad characters. the source of his character is vast variety. He shows religious hypocrisy through the character of Miss Prism and reveals the stupidity and vanity of British upper-class people through the character of Lady Bracknell.
Oscar Wilde satires social hypocrisy through a ridiculous and sweet tone for the purpose of rectification. He uses farce to rectify Victorian people’s hypocrisy and social discrimination.
In termination, we can undoubtedly say that this is one of the best paradigms of farcical comedy because Wilde uses farce to rectify society that is why he uses ridiculous and sweet tone. so, The Importance of Being Earnest is the best farcical comedy.