"The Importance of Being Earnest," by Oscar Wilde, is a comedic play that is set .
in London, England during Victorian times. Wilde uses many literary devices to create .
comedy in this play one of the most promentent of these devices is the unexpected and .
backward logic frequently used by the characters. In the play, a character will disscuss .
something leading the reader to believe the character will perform a particular behavior .
but instead an the character behaves unexpectedly. There is not one time in the entire .
story in which what the reader expects to happen really occurs. In fact, things get so .
unexpected that one just has to laugh at them. One of the more frequent users of this .
type of logic is Lady Bracknell and it is the object of this paper to compare these .
aspects of this character.
It seems as though Lady Bracknell is acting to instill logic into Gwendolen in .
Scene I when Gwendolen has been engaged to Jack. She is obviously jumping into .
something without thinking and it looks like Lady Bracknell is going to put it to a halt. "In .
the carriage, Gwendolen!" spouts Lady Bracknell, sending her away as she begins to .
question Jack. She starts off asking Jack if he smokes, Jack replies "Well, yes, I must .
admit I smoke." Well you would expect that if Lady Bracknell would scold Jack. But instead, she replies, "I am glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind. There are far too many idle men in London as it is." This is such an illogical response that it is funny.
Lady Bracknell continues to behave illogically. "I have always been of the opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing. Which do you know?" she asks. Jack responds, "I know nothing." As with before, one would expect a negative reply from Lady Bracknell, however she responds, "I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with the natural ignorance.