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What Algernon suggests is that all husbands in Victorian society lead double lives.In Wilde’s view, Jack’s refusal to acknowledge that he is “a Bunburyist” is what differentiates him from Algernon from a purely moral perspective.Another example is Algernon’s assertion that “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound.

Like Lady Bracknell, she is somewhat ruthless and overbearing, and she demonstrates similar habits of speech and frames of mind, including a propensity to monomania (witness her obsession with the name “Ernest”) and a tendency to make absurd categorical pronouncements.If Gwendolen’s voice were turned up a few decibels, it might be indistinguishable from that of Lady Bracknell.Algernon’s reply to Jack’s question is a perfect example of the Wildean epigram: a statement that briefly and elegantly turns some piece of received or conventional wisdom on its head.She has just told him she believes that a man who wants to marry should know either everything or nothing, and Jack, sensing a trap, has said he knows nothing.Lady Bracknell greets the news with complacency and says only, “I am pleased to hear it.” Wilde is on one level sending up the boorish ignorance and vacuity of the British leisured classes, qualities he had certainly encountered in the person of Lord Alfred Douglas’s voluble and undereducated father, whose provocative, misspelled note would ultimately lead to Wilde’s downfall.

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