The Importance of Being Earnest

The Comic Aspects of Algernon in 'The Importance of Being Earnest’ 12th Grade

Algernon is a comic to a contemporary audience because of his dandyism, his enjoyment of self-gratification, his inverted morals and his double life. Wilde presents Algernon as a dandy figure who is more concerned with style over substance; indeed, Algernon's nature can be seen through Algernon’s house, which is described in the opening stage directions as an extravagant setting that was ‘luxuriously and artistically furnished’. Algernon also displays lack of concern for formality and accuracy reflected from how he responded to Lane’s polite criticism on Algernon’s piano playing ability. Algernon claimed to that sentiment was his forte, and that he ‘keeps science for Life’, showing his artistic flair and nonchalance as well as his belief that expression and sentiment are much more important things. Algernon’s unduly concern with being stylish and fashionable could also be seen through his concern towards specific requirements of clothing for his fake identity, Bunbury, in Act 1, where he asks Lane to put up his dress clothes, smoking jacket and Bunbury suits. Algernon’s dandyism can also be seen in how he places particular importance to trivial things such as his leisurely hobby of drinking champagne and eating in Act 1. This...

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