“Dorian Gray” and “Importance of being Earnest”

There can be found many similarities and differences in both of these literary works about the English gentry. “The picture of Dorian Gray” can be found as the dark twin of “Importance of being Earnest” on the other hand “Earnest” seems as if it were mocking “Dorian Gray”. Among the numerous similarities the differences are those who make one a dark and gothic novel and the other a witty and cheerful play. Both the similarities and differences can be found in

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n the characters, plot twists and turns, ideas and even the general feel of it.

The various and colorful characters are the backbone of each of the works. These works rely mostly on their characters to make the story interesting and readers wanting to read ahead. Even though the characters are so similar, they cannot be confused. They interact in such witty manner that only Oscar Wilde could have put them on paper. The only difference between the characters and one th
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hat matters the most is obviously the tone, while “Dorian’s” tone is rather somber “Earnest” really puts light into them and a little farce too.

Even though the different yet so similar characters are what make Wilde’s works the way they ar
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re, it would be nothing without a stunning and shocking plot. Wide likes to make unexpected turns and twists, like the death of Sybil at the time when Dorian had decided to marry her, or the realization that Jack is actually called Earnest, that Algernon is his brother and that he is a descendant of the English gentry. Without the Wilde’s typical plot twists the plays do not share many other plot similarities. One shows the degradation of a character, while the other does the exact opposite. While “Earnest” ends with everything solved and everyone happy, “Dorian Gray” ends with death and some loose ends (what happened to Lord Henry afterwards).

Throughout the plot and with a great help from the ch
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haracters some ideas are portrayed. “Importance of being Earnest” mocks the English gentry and its meaningless customs, while “The Picture of Dorian Gray” shows the degradation of a young boy into a wretched old monster. The similarity is that they both portray love but each in a different form. “Earnest” shows how a true and selfless love has to battle through the ridiculous customs and prejudices of their society, while “Dorian Gray” is more concerned about showing a completely hedonistic lo
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ove for one’s own visual attractiveness and the worldly pleasures above everything else.

All these three components, the cast, plot and the ideas portrayed lead to a general feel of the works, which is obviously the biggest difference and similarity of all. “Earnest” is filled with cheerful and farce-like comedy while “Dorian” is playing on some deep and vile strings. The similarity they share is that they both are very witty and rich with the stereotypical English-gentry atmosphere. As expected from the genius of Oscar Wilde these two works seem like reflections in a cracked mirror, so similar yet totally different character wise, plot wise and even idea wise.

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