Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Many have interpreted Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest as a farce or a satire. Such commentators presuppose that Wilde disagrees with the values his characters espouse and inverts the serious and the trivial either for the sake of amusement (farce) or for the sake of critique (satire). If, however, one assumes that Wilde agrees with his characters’ values, then a different interpretation emerges, one that examines the characters’ views in light of a value system that regards beauty and pleasure as its highest virtues. Thus, the trivial becomes serious and the serious becomes trivial.

pdf