“comedic literature entertains rather than instructs, it aims only to please”
In the ‘Importance Of Being Earnest’, comedy certainly entertains through the fast pace series of events from beginning to the very end of the play. Oscar Wilde trivialises what it most important. The conspicuous character Mr John Worthing takes on the disguise of being “jack in the country” and “Earnest in town”. This immediately serves to cause comedic confusion amongst the audience. The play is a comedy of manners and a farce, which contains some references to contemporary historical events. Wilde includes references to historical events to show just how much of a troubled society it was during the 18th century.
The meaning of the name/noun “Earnest” refers to being truthful, when in fact both the male figures in the play Algernon and Jack who adopt the name ‘Earnest’ aren’t honest. Algernon states Jack looks as if his name “was Earnest”. Algernon’s assumption is proved right during the plays conclusion.
The overbearing nature of the protagonist of the play; Lady Bracknell seems to play a pivotal part of the entertainment. Although, her demeanour proves differently through her abrupt behaviour. During the opening of the play in Act 1 Lady Bracknell of her arrival asks if there were any “nice cucumber sandwiches?”. Lane replies “there were no cucumbers left in the market”. Immediately Wilde creates a sense of tension over such a trivial matter. This is later heightened during the play. Wilde constructs Lady Bracknell to be an authoritative figure but simultaneously mocks her, being a member of the aristocrats. Wilde exaggerates the upper class’s shallowness and frivolity to exemplify the corrupt morals they have.
Wilde’s characters are unnaturally eloquent therefore uses an anti-naturalist stance. All characters are required not to break the ‘comedy of manners’. At a point in the play Algernon seems to break the ‘comedy of manners’ by pretending to cough: “ahem ahem”. Cecily rebukes him and states “oh don’t cough Earnest, when one is dictating one should speak fluently...” the adverb “fluently,” suggests not only were women expected to behave in a certain manner but men too.
Entertainment is also conveyed through the joyous mood created by Burns in ‘Tam O’ Shanter’. This poem is crafted light heartedly throughout the entirety of the poem. One way in which humour is created is by using an anti-climax when Tam reaches the church. “By alloways auld and haunted kirk”. Burns builds up tension by using a gothic theme and listing sinister places. He uses a speedy rhyme scheme, fast metre, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. These are used when he describes his journey to the...