Ironies in The Importance of Earnest

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By: Annabelle Pham

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  • Situational irony : Act 1
  • Lady Bracknell: "I am pleased to hear it"(26).
  • Lady Bracknell had an un-expecting response.
  • Jack: "I know nothing, Lady Bracknell" (26).
  • Dramatic irony : Act 1
  • Jack: "The Manor House, Woolton, Hertfordshire"(36).
  • Algernon secretly wrote the address without the other characters knowing, but the audience.
  • "Algernon, who has been carefully listening, smiles to himself, and writes the address on his shirt-cuff. Then picks up the Railway Guide" (36).
  • Dramatic Irony : Act 2
  • Cecily does not know that "Ernest" is really Algernon.
  • Cecily: "I pity any poor married woman whose husband is not called Ernest" (65).
  • Algernon: "but, my dear, do you mean to say you could not love me if I had some other name" (66)?
  • Dramatic Irony : Act 2
  • Cecily: " How nice of you to like me so much after we have known each other such a comparatively short time" (68).
  • Gwendolen: "I like you already more than I can say. My first impressions of people are never wrong" (68).
  • Gwendolen does not know that she was wrong with first impressions before like not knowing that "Ernest" is really Jack.
  • Dramatic Irony: Act 3
  • Lady Bracknell: "May I ask if it is this house that your invalid friend Mr. Bunbury resides" (89)?
  • Lady Bracknell does not know that Bunbury never existed.
  • Algernon: "Oh! No! Bunbury doesn't live here. Bunbury is somewhere else at present. In fact, Bunbury is dead" (89).
  • Situational Irony : Act 3
  • Lady Bracknell: "You are the son of my poor sister, Mrs. Moncrieff, and consequently Algernon's elder brother" (103).
  • Jack: "Algy's elder brother! I knew I had a brother! I always said I had a brother" (103)!
  • Un-expected turn of events because Jack was really telling the truth after-all when he meant it as a lie.
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