| Quote #4
Jack: May I ask you then what you would advise me to do? I need hardly say I would do anything in the world to ensure Gwendolen's happiness.
The comedic timing for this line is brilliant. After coming off an emotional roller-coaster ride that ends in a broken heart, Jack is told that the only thing he may do to improve his position is to "produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over." As an orphan, it's impossible for Jack to find his parents. Secondly, think about the use of the word "produce"; when referring to people, we think of reproduction as having kids. Thus, this line is contradictory both in its use of "produce" and, by making Jack’s parentage seem like a choice.
| Quote #5
Algernon: Well, I don't like your clothes. You look perfectly ridiculous in them. Why on earth don't you go up and change? It is perfectly childish to be in deep mourning for a man who is actually staying for a whole week with you in your house as a guest. I call it grotesque. (II.175)
Algernon’s comments on Jack’s clothes are foolish (but funny) because Jack says they’re hideous and inappropriate for this occasion of happiness. But it is actually Algernon whose arrival foiled Jack’s plan, and make his mourning clothes look "perfectly ridiculous."
| Quote #6
Jack: How can you sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can't make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.
This passage is as close to slap-stick comedy as Wilde gets. First of all, it’s hilarious that the men to be fight over muffins when the loves of their lives have just left them. Plus, it’s just silly for grown men to be grabbing muffins from each other; they’re acting like children.