Oscar Wilde Writing Styles in An Ideal Husband

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Wit

Wit as a type of humor is what Wilde is known for, both in his everyday life and in a number of his writings, including An Ideal Husband. Wit is clever humor—not bawdy, rude, silly, or visual funniness. Wit entails the delivery of an unexpected or surprising insight, or a clever reversal of expectations. For example, at one point in the play, Mrs. Cheveley says, "a woman's first duty in life is to her dressmaker, isn't it? What the second duty is, no one has yet discovered." This would have provoked laughter because the popular saying she is reversing is as follows: "A woman's first duty is to her husband." Victorians were known for their commitment to duty and there would have been not one person in Wilde's audience who had not heard and read the popular axiom many, many times.

Epigram and Aphorism

Epigrammatic turns of...

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This section contains 729 words
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Drama for Students
An Ideal Husband from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.