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

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw English 1102 3 November 2010 Essay Three Draft One 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 precede it, such as the courtship and proposal. There is a debate over marriage in the work: is it derived from pleasure or business? There are instances that support both sides throughout the play, but ultimately, Wilde asserts that the institution of marriage is based on business and conveys this sentiment primarily through character speech and interactions. In the play, Wilde discusses the idea of a relationship between a man and woman with the sentiment that romance should not lead to marriage. The two concepts are expressly separate and should have nothing to do with each other. This attitude of the time period is introduced through Algernon, who states that in a courtship, “girls never marry the men they flirt with. [They] don't think it right” (975).This obvious epigram suggests that marriage is not established on the basis of love. Essentially, women could flirt as much as they desired, but ultimately, they could not marry anyone that they felt real romantic notions towards. The most significant indicator of marriage being business and not pleasure is eviident in the way that Wilde presents proposals. When protagonist Jack initially arrives in town, Algernon inquires for the reason for his visit. Jack replies that he is there for pleasure: he has “come up expressly to propose to [Gwendolyn](975). To this, Algernon is perplexed, replying that he “thought [Jack] had
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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 One - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham A. Shaw...

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