Essay Three Draft Final

Essay Three Draft Final - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw...

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw English 1102 12 November 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 touches 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. Through the play, Wilde asserts that the institution of marriage is based on business and conveys this sentiment through characters' attitudes concerning proposals and marriages. Wilde initially presents the idea of marriage as stemming from business instead of pleasure through the character of Algernon. 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 has “come up expressly to propose to [Gwendolyn],” a perplexed Algernon replies that he “calls that business” and that “it is very vulgar to talk about one's business” (975,1002). He further makes his views on the 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 is usually accepted because marriages were arranged by
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Pham 2 guardians and not by the people themselves; the women usually had no choice. In other words, “girls never marry the men they flirt with. [They] don't think it right” (975). Because flirting can be considered an idea of romance, this statement solidifies the idea that a relationship between a man and woman should not been based on attraction. The two concepts of romance and marriage are expressly separate and should have nothing to do with each other; marriage is not established on the basis of love. As if the commentary on proposals and engagements is not enough,
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This note was uploaded on 09/28/2011 for the course ENGL 1102 taught by Professor Cantremember during the Fall '08 term at UGA.

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Essay Three Draft Final - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw...

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