After reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, I could see why Oscar Wilde’s work is still so popular today. His dry and witty humor is still hilarious to this day, and are a main reason why he’s as popular as he is today. But how his humor combines with his underlying messages to create an aspect of social commentary is really what makes his work timeless. It’s exactly this combination that makes The Importance of Being Earnest a lively play with an earnest message at heart.
Unlike The Picture of Dorian Gray, this play is overall much more jolly. Nonetheless, there are important lessons in the play, but I will cover that later. Wilde’s humor is at full display here- quirky one liners, constant irony, and much more to make a 17 year old boy laugh even today. Similar to the aesthetic motto at the time, Wilde truly makes humor for humor sake all throughout this play. However, the way he uses humor to mock the rich furthers this play to make it more than just a comedy. Simply put, Wilde wants all of us to be more honest with ourselves. As a result, we can attract the right people for the right reasons without having to lie. After all, lying is the easiest way to fatigue our creativity- something that Wilde would never want to happen.