Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest

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Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest satirizes and mocks Victorian society. The clever use of characters provides comedy that hides the hidden theme of criticism of the Victorian way of life. In a Victorian society that stressed on progress and development, it was risky for authors like Wilde to portray an imperfect way of life in nineteenth-century England. Wilde disagrees with the way Victorian society thinks and acts. At the time of the Victorian Era, women were more powerful and more politically free. However the main point that Wilde was trying to show in the play is that it satirizes two main social constructs, which is social class and gender relations. In the play, Wilde mocks characters from the upper class to bring about change in the class system of the Victorian Era. Wilde mocks the upper class’s arrogant attitude, ideas of progression, and importance on being sincere or earnestness. Wilde identifies the cocky attitude of the upper class by presenting characters with false perceptions of their self-importance in society. When Lane the servant says there were no cucumbers at the market, Algernon seems surprised that his wealth has not given him an opportunity to get cucumbers over the common man. Algernon’s lower view of Lane also shows how arrogant he is. As the play opens, Algernon wants to talk to Lane about himself, but as soon as Lane mentions something from his own personal life, Algernon points out that he has no interest in your family life. Algernon views lower class to have absolutely no sense of moral or purpose. As the stock characters of Algernon and Lane follow the master and servant in this play, their normal behavior becomes a source of humor and satire itself. The yes sir, no sir atti... ... middle of paper ... ...s distinguished by the domestic life. While the public world of the men was celebrated, the private world of the women was largely ignored. Through Lady Bracknell, Wilde provides a clear image to the ambiguous of the female life. When Jack pronounces his love for Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell is there as the blocking character with pencil and notebook in hand to evaluate him as a potential bachelor. The pencil and notebook symbolize Lady Bracknell’s strategic approach, business-like conduct and dependence on facts to make decisions that will impact her domestic space. Oscar Wilde’s evocation that women rely on the same tactics as men to make decisions suggests the female life operates with the same validity as the male life. Wilde’s proposal of similarity between the lives is taunting the biological roles that was labeled on the domestic aspect of Victorian women.
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