Jack’s persona ‘Earnest’ has been described by Miss Prism as “irretrievably weak and vacillating” (701.35). Not only that, but Jack uses his persona of Earnest to make it seem like Jack adheres to notions of duty, honor and respectability all the while getting into mischief in London as his fake brother Ernest. Jack has shown that he will even lie to his loved ones his persona in order to get away with misbehaving and be seen as upright and moral. Later into the play Jack and his double life collide when the woman he loves starts to love his alter ego Earnest, although Ernest was an escape Jack used for his personal life but when his personal life and his real life collide he has to embrace his deception to get the life that he truly
Another symbol, though it may not be called to mind as quickly as food, is Lady Bracknell. Throughout the story, especially in Act III, she is the picture of the high-class in all its pride. Her character's purpose in the story is so witty on Wilde's part that it's comical in itself. She believes that for the high-class anything is possible, and a well-respected, dignified marriage is a key to more power, which is ironic because her character isn't power-hungry. Her pride is easily identified when Lady Bracknell asks Jack where his house is located in London by asking, "What number in Belgrave Square?" to which Jack answers, "149." and she replies, "The unfashionable side. I thought there was something. But that could easily be altered." Jack asks, "Do you mean the fashion, or the side?" and she says, "B...
Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays. Ed. Richard Allen Cave. New York: Penguin, 2000.
The theme of the play is the issues within the Victorian society, which mainly focuses on the topic of marriage. This is demonstrated when Jack asked Gwendolen for marriage. Lady Bracknell responded by asking him about his social standing instead of asking do he really love Gwendolen or not. This proves that social rank is more important than people true feelings towards someone. Wilde uses irony to bring out his opinion on the social class issue. In addition, he symbolism to show the differences between the two social classes. Brigitte Bastiat believes that “Therefore Oscar Wilde rebels against the artificial and hypocritical social codes of his class and suggests that anybody can pass for an aristocrat with a bit of practice” (Bastiat), which tells how rank is more important than
The Importance of Being Earnest, written by Oscar Wilde, is a novel about two friends who lead double lives. Throughout the novel, the reader sees both sides of John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff’s personalities. Both characters exhibit a serious upper class personality in one setting but also have a completely different personality that allows them to be more carefree and pleasure-seeking. Ultimately Worthing & Moncrieff’s double lives allow them to express different sides of themselves and in turn discover their true selves.
According to two female characters in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Ernest is a name that is typically desirable for a husband and represents high social status and wealth. Earnest, on the contrary, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, means to be “serious, sincere”, or, in other words, honest (“Earnest”). Within the irony of the title of Wilde’s play itself, the hypocrisy of the high social class of the Victorian era is revealed. Wilde himself said of the play in one of his letters to Lord Alfred Douglas from Worthing, “The real charm of the play, if it is to have a charm, must be in the dialogue. The plot is slight…but…adequate” (Ericksen, 145).
...ble life that has been led by Jack and Algernon is one of the leading symbols in the play. It is the central metaphor in the play. Both Jack and Algernon’s fake personas are their way of escaping from the burdensome responsibility of the society. They also helps them to appear far more moral and responsible than they can ever be.
Wilde’s strategically uses each of the characters to represent the manner in which those, who were in the upper class, would behave. As the play begins we are instantly battered with the satirically condemning wit that is Oscar Wilde. Algernon requests his servant, Lane, to produce the cucumber sandwiches for the arrival of Lady Bracknell. Lane and Algernon have idle chatter and end up on the subject of marriage. After Lane exits the room and Jack insists, “Lane’s views on marriage seem somewhat lax. Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility”. This is Wilde’s analysis on the absurdity of the upper class and also gives us an improved view of the character Algernon. Algernon is a constituent of the affluent. He assumes less responsibility than his counterpart Jack,...
Men of the time were held to the standard of being active in society. They were expected to be active in politics and social activities outside of the home. Expectations for men were also for them to be respectful and proper, especially when women were present. The character, Jack Worthing, in The Importance of Being Earnest, is the representation of the perfect Victorian gentleman. For example, Jack says to Algernon in Act I, “...My dear fellow, the truth isn’t quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, sweet, refined girl. What extraordinary ideas you have about the way to behave to a woman!” (Wilde 1.2.236). In this simple quote, Jack describes the high standards and expectations that Victorian gentlemen were held to. But not only men were held to high standards, women were expected to hold themselves in the most proper way as well. The point of a Victorian woman’s life was to marry and domestically support her family. Women had little rights and in fact, prior to the Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870, women were forced to give up all property that they held to their husbands upon marriage. (Appell 1). Within the play, Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen 's mother, is provided as a tool to explain the oppression put upon women of the time.
Oscar Wilde was written during the Victorian era. The statement that “A text reflects the dominant ideologies of the time in which it was written” in reference to The Importance of Being Earnest is completely untrue. The play explores the inner workings of the Victorian upper class and challenges the attitudes and ideologies which society at the time was based. In particular Wilde criticised the certain social and financial expectations to marry in an upper-class or aristocratic society. Wilde also portrays women to have greater social and moral responsibility and power than men contrary to the ideology that “a woman was inferior to a man” and thus should be powerless. Also critiqued is the immorality of upper class society through their behaviour. Contrary to this the only characters in which are moral are the working class represented by Merriman.Therefore Wilde comprehensively challenges what were dominant ideologies in Victorian England through the use of characters and themes.
In Oscar Wilde’s play, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” is an early Victorian melodramatic play. This play is very honest and frank. It is a satire, comedy of errors, and an intellectual farce. There are two main characters, Algernon and Jack. Jack Worthing, is known by Jack when he is living at his own country estate, but when he goes into city, London; he creates a fictional character called ‘Earnest.’ Algernon has created a fictional character named ‘Bunbury.’ Algernon uses Bunbury to get him out of prior engagements. This helps him get out of the house and clear his head whenever he wants. Although their both the characters situations are different, both created an “alter-ego” to help them get away from their own lives and also to live another life. They are best friends; both have the same social background, class and taste. Between Jack and Algernon, Jack is more serious about his life; he creates a fictional character to help him keep his image of being humble and respectable intact but in truth is vain. On the other hand, Algernon is truthful about himself and he goes against the Victorian values. But society loves him anyway as he accepts that he is not formal or conservative, or proper and he is rough around the edges but he’s funny, witty and smart. Although Wilde creates two characters in Jack and Algernon who are similar in social class, age, tastes, etc., he also carefully creates subtle character differences between them that create conflict and humor in the play.
...“Jack. It isn’t Ernest; it’s Jack”. This only serves to add more irony as it reveals that the main object of desire in the play is in fact a lie. We therefore see Wilde’s contempt for hypocritical morality coming out in a sharp satire of the deep flaws in the foundations of the upper class.
In Oscar Wilde’s drama The Importance of Being Earnest, he uses light-hearted tones and humor to poke fun at British high society while handling the serious theme of truth and the true identity of who is really “Earnest.” Truth as theme is most significantly portrayed through the women characters, Gwendolen and Cecily but to present serious themes comically, Wilde portrays women to be the weaker sex of society, despite the seriousness of the subject—the identity of the men they want to marry.
Throughout The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde plays around with the standard expectations along with the absence of compassion of a Victorian society in the 1890’s, he demonstrates this through several genres of comedy such as Melodrama, Comedy of Manners, Farce, dark humour and Irony, as well as portraying the themes, death and illness, in this play in a brilliance of unusual amount of references.
Wilde purposely used her role to portray how closed minded the society was, with her opinions and mannerism betraying a carefully calculated speaking pattern with witty epigrams and social wordplay to tear other characters apart. As a ruthless social climber and spokesperson for the status quo, she was not always part of the upper class but rather married into aristocracy, as she previously represent the formerly excluded. However, now that she is Lady Bracknell, she has opinions on just about everything and with her behavior enforcing social discrimination and exclusion for the outsiders from her class; she is an invention of Wilde’s to present his satire on these subjects. For example, when Jack proposed to her daughter Gwendolen, this was the moment that Lady Bracknell was able to “flex” her muscles and bend the rules to suit her pleasure as she saw marriage of more of an alliance for property and social security than love or passion. Thus Jack was placed on her list of eligible suitors if only he could pass her series of challenging tests. Yet at the same time Lady Bracknell relentlessly gives Jack “correct” but immoral advice on finding his parents. "I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire