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Theme 1: Love and passion

One of the themes Wilde approaches with increased sarcasm is that of romance
and love. He ridicules what is otherwise a lauded phenomenon by making the
women fall in love with the man not for his personality and characteristics but for
something as trivial as…

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existence of Earnest and Bunbury. Though both Jack and Algernon resort to this
method to escape the restrictions of their present lives, Algernon is more open
about the need and in fact, flaunts his 'Bunburying' pursuits.

"(Algernon)...A man who marries without knowing Bunbury has a very tedious time of it"6…

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"(Gwendolen) How absurd to talk of the equality of the sexes!"10

They were mainly valued for their beauty and chastity. However, Wilde questions
these stereotypes in his work. This is done by placing a female character such as
Lady Bracknell in a position of power...

"(Lady Bracknell)...you are not engaged…

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b) Hypocrisy in society: Hypocrisy is the act of pretending to have beliefs and
opinions that the person in question actually does not possess. It is
considered a kind of lie and may stem from the need to protect one's
identity. This is an important theme in this play as…

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"(Algernon)...What ideas do you have of hospitality!"19

g) Outlook of priorities: The Victorian public gave much though to how they
appeared to the viewer. More than the feeling and emotion in any given
situation, it was how they were presented on the outside that mattered. This
again gave rise to…

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regulations risked being the object of ridicule and alienation.

"(Lady Bracknell)...in families of high position strange coincidences are not supposed to
occur" 24


Theme 8: Idleness of leisure class and aesthete

Wilde goodnaturedly exposes the idleness of the upper class. He comments on
their apparent lack of goal and ambition.…

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relationship as brother ­ similar solutions to similar problems and the fact that they
fall for similar girls.

Theme 11: Culture clash

The setting of the play is split between the country and the city. These two spaces,
though in close proximity of each other, vary immensely in their culture…

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