Essay Three Draft Final Draft Portfolio

Essay Three Draft Final Draft Portfolio - Pham 1 Stephanie...

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw English 1102 7 December 2010 Marriage in The Importance of Being Earnest : Business or Pleasure? In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde presents a comedy about the Victorian era in which the characters approach serious subjects like marriage with a sense of triviality. However, not only does Wilde write about marriage, but he also presents a social commentary on the stages that should precede it, such as the courtship and the proposal Underneath the characters' superficial approach to marriage, there is a legitimate debate over whether it is based on business or pleasure. Although there are instances that support both sides of the dichotomy, there are more mentions in favor of the former rather than the latter. Wilde asserts that the institution of marriage is based on business and conveys this sentiment through character dialogue and interactions with one another, which suggests that there is more to marriage than romance. Wilde initially presents marriage and business through the character of Algernon and his epigrammatic statements, which serve as a mouthpiece to discuss romance and wedlock. When Jack first arrives in town, Algernon inquires for the reason behind his visit. When Jack replies that he is there for pleasure and that he is planning to propose to Gwendolen, a perplexed Algernon replies that he “calls that business,” remarking that “it is very vulgar to talk about one's business” (975,1002). This is the first explicit mention of marriage as business, signifying his belief that marriage has nothing to do with pleasure. He further makes his views on the
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Pham 2 institution evident when he says, “it is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal [and] the very essence of romance is uncertainty” (975). In their society, a proposal was usually preceded by courtship, which was not only chaperoned but also a very formal process with certain rules and etiquette to be followed. With such a strict and long method, there comes a point where there is a sense of certainty that comes along with it; there will be a proposal at the end of the courtship. . Essentially, Algernon asserts that because romance stems from uncertainty or spontaneity, the courtship of the Victorian era was not well suited to the idea of love. When a proposal is definite, there is a lack of romance and an abundance of
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Essay Three Draft Final Draft Portfolio - Pham 1 Stephanie...

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