As we have already been told in previous lectures, in this period predominates a realistic theatre. In this play the author reflects areality that, at the same time is fiction. The story suffers an evolution in which the story becomes completely absurd and ridicule as a devise of the author to reflect the defects of the society.
Fromthe very beginning in this play, we can realize how the audience cannot get totally identified with the characters, even though they are normal and accessible people in the play. After having read andanalyzed the play closely, we have reached the conclusion that this alienation between characters and audience is owed to the artificious way in which Wilde manipulates the language.
As we go alongreading the play we perceive a cold, impersonal, distant and unnatural way of speaking from the characters.
Wilde Uses the language to show how the characters behave in order to criticized theVictorian society of the period. Our author, helped by a stylish language, different rhetorical devices and structures, depicts a kind of society using the images of the characters in the play as aliterary construct.
In this analysis we are going to focus our attention on Algernon and Jack (Ernest), apart from being main and key characters for a proper understanding of the play, Wilde has built themas parallel characters. We can see a clear identification of the two along the story: they both made up an imaginary friend in order to keep a double life, get in love at the same time and lie to therest of characters, they both adopt the same fake name (Ernest) and at the end they become engaged with their respective beloved women in a forced happy ending. It is through Algernon and Jack andthrough their conversations where we can clearly see the author’s critical intentions.
Oscar Wilde creates that light critical effect, that characterizes him, by using different techniques.