Essay, Research Paper: Algernon And Earnest

English

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In this play, being earnest is made as superficial a trait as possible; it means
simply having the name Earnest. The characters are motivated and controlled by a
hollow and artificial set of social standards that have little substance but are
used to maintain social distinctions and social class privileges. Against this
rigid system of controls the young lovers pursue their dreams of romance. The
play is structured as a series of verbal fencing matches in which showing the
right form is as important as making one's point. The plot is nonsensical, a
mere excuse for causing the lovers some temporary setbacks before the inevitable
comic happy ending. The tone is brightly serious; none of the characters have
any inkling that they are speaking absurdities. Even the self-indulgent Algernon
is earnest in his self-indulgence.
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