Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Othello, Shakespeare, Sonnet, Men, Hero, Importance, Flaw, The Reader

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/21

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WRITING ASSINGMENT WEEK 3

Shelley’s ‘England in 1819’ and Keats’s “When I have fears that I may cease to be" are sonnets that have a different rhyme scheme. Shelley’s sonnet is written in iambic pentameter and has an ‘a-b-a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, c-c-d-d’ rhyme scheme making it a Petrarchan or Italian sonnet whose traditional structure has been disregarded. Keats’s sonnet follows the Shakespearean or the English sonnet with the ‘a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g’ rhyme scheme. Typical of a Shakespearean sonnet, Keats’s sonnet has a rhyming couplet at the end with the last two lines ending with ‘and think’ and ‘do sink’. Shelley uses a lot of violent metaphors in the sonnet while passionately decrying the sorry state of affairs in England. Shelley compares the nobles to leeches in the muddy water when he says, ‘leechlike to their fainting country cling’ (Shelley 5) calls the army a two-edged sword (Shelley 8, 9), and religion a ‘sealed book’ (Shelley 11). Shelley also employs alliteration in his sonnet that makes the lines resonate for a long time. Examples of this technique can be seen in lines 1, "despised and dying",2, "dregs" and "dull" ,3, "mud" and "muddy" , 7, starved and stabbed. Keats in his sonnet also uses poetic devices such as figurative language, metaphors and simile. For example in 3 and 4 of his sonnet, he compares language to wheat in a grain basket when he says, ‘Before high-pilèd books, in charactery, Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain (Keats 3, 4).” This sonnet also has negative capability, a regular feature of Keats’s poems. In fact the first line of the sonnet where he says, ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’, he begins the sonnet in a deliberatively contemplative mood and deals with the theme of death.

When in Act III, Gwendolen says, “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing (III.19)”, the reader is forced to question the title of the play and it brings out Wilde’s genius in mocking the Victorian society where appearances were given more importance than actual virtue. While the Victorian men and women behaved in a sincere and an exemplary manner in public, in secret they harbored cruel and manipulative thoughts and some characters in Wilde’s play display this characteristic. Wilde’s play pivots around the word Ernest and this also forms the overarching theme of the play. The two leading ladies, Gwendolen and Cecily want to marry men whose names are Ernest and which implies confidence, honesty, responsibility and sincerity but the two men Jack and Algernon lie about their names and that does not make them ‘Earnest’. Both women are so enamored or fixated with the name that they fail to notice the actual men and their artfulness. The paradox in the play is that it is really difficult for the characters to be earnest and moralistic although they claim to be so. The two men use alter egos to escape from the strictures of society and lead a relatively free life. Wilde uses the words Ernest and Earnest as a name and as a characteristic to bring out how little the people of that era valued Earnestness and gave more importance to the name. In claiming to be sincere the characters in the play come across as being shallow.

Othello as a tragic hero

Othello has many of the typical characteristics of a tragic hero. He is virtuous, noble, admired and respected by many and a great leader and a commander. He starts by being a commander of the Venetian armed forces and later becomes the governor of Cyprus. But like every tragic hero, Othello has a fatal flaw that leads to his downfall. In the case of Othello it is his jealousy that brings everything he holds close to ruin. Although Othello is a reasonable and intelligent man, he succumbs to a jealous rage when Iago plants the seeds of doubts in his mind. Although Othello is madly in love with Desdemona his wife, jealousy blinds him completely and he ends up killing her. Although Othello is high in stature, his flaw makes him one of us, someone the reader can identify with and through who the reader can experience catharsis. Othello is elevated to great heights before his fall from grace just as the Aristotelian tragic hero. He is shown as someone who is very eloquent in the beginning of the play and it is this that helps him win over Desdemona. But his jealousy when he thinks Desdemona is being unfaithful to him turns him into a raging lunatic who cannot even talk or reason. Although Iago lies to Othello, the final decision is purely Othello’s. Killing Desdemona is not an accident but a choice Othello makes himself and it is because of a character flaw in him. The punishment for his crime is also high like that of every tragic hero. Othello not only kills Desdemona and loses her forever but he also kills himself unable to deal with what he has done. His one character flaw leads to his fall from grace, loss of loved ones and eventually the loss of his own life. Before he kills himself towards the end Othello tells people that he wants to be "one not easily jealous, but being wrought / Perplex'd in the extreme" (5.2.345-346). Although he believes he cannot be jealous, he succumbs to it easily and sees his extreme confusion or torment not as an excuse for his behavior but as a fault that must be punished.

References

Percy, B, Shelley. (2000). England in 1819. In M.H. Abrams, The Norton Anthology of English Literature. London: W.W Norton & Co Inc.
Keats, John. When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be. Retrieved from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173753.
Wilde, Oscar. (1915). The Importance of Being Earnest. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/844/844-h/844-h.htm
Shakespeare, William. Othello. Retrieved from http://shakespeare.mit.edu/othello/full.html

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WePapers. (2020, November, 21) Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/theme-of-sincerity-in-oscar-wildes-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essays-examples/
"Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples." WePapers, 21 Nov. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/theme-of-sincerity-in-oscar-wildes-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essays-examples/. Accessed 23 October 2021.
WePapers. 2020. Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples., viewed October 23 2021, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/theme-of-sincerity-in-oscar-wildes-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essays-examples/>
WePapers. Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed October 23, 2021]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/theme-of-sincerity-in-oscar-wildes-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essays-examples/
"Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples." WePapers, Nov 21, 2020. Accessed October 23, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/theme-of-sincerity-in-oscar-wildes-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essays-examples/
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"Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 21-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/theme-of-sincerity-in-oscar-wildes-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essays-examples/. [Accessed: 23-Oct-2021].
Theme Of Sincerity In Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Importance Of Being Earnest’. Essays Examples. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/theme-of-sincerity-in-oscar-wildes-the-importance-of-being-earnest-essays-examples/. Published Nov 21, 2020. Accessed October 23, 2021.
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