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

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw English 1102 5 November 2010 Marriage: 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 business side. Ultimately, Wilde asserts that the institution of marriage is based on practicality and conveys this sentiment through characters' attitudes concerning proposals and marriages. A significant indicator of marriage stemming from business and not pleasure is evident in the way that Wilde presents proposals through the character of Algernon. For example, when Jack initially 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 ones business” (1002). He further makes his views on the institution evident: “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
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Pham 2 accepted, because marriages were arranged by guardians and not by the people themselves. This presents the idea that a relationship between a man and woman should not have romance. If it does, it does not to marriage. The two concepts are expressly separate and should have nothing to do with each other. In other words, “girls never marry the men they flirt with. [They] don't think it right” (975).This suggests that marriage is not established on the basis of love. Essentially,
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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 University of Georgia Athens.

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

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