Satirical Comments in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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The class system during the Victorian Period played a significant role on people’s lives. The class a person belonged to played an important role in that individual’s future. In Victorian England, class diversity and class placement either hindered or enhanced people’s lives. One work of literature that comments on class distinctions in Victorian England is “The Importance of Being Earnest”, by Oscar Wilde. In “The Importance of Being Earnest”, Wilde expresses the concern with the Victorian people endeavoring to maintain an upper class reputation--while hiding the reality of their lives. The Victorian class system had an influential role on peoples lives. The Victorian class system was stringent was a strict one. The class a person belonged to is based on the wealth a family encompassed or the hereditary lineage a person is apart of. The class you belonged was revealed in peoples manners, speech/dialect, appearance, and values. Victorian England consisted of two main classes, the elite(upper class) and commoners(lower classes). The working class in Victorian England was more noticeable than the upper class because they made up most of the population. Many people knew that there were three different social classes, but the poor who did the physical work and often went unrecognized. According to Mitchell, Sally’s Daily Life In Victorian England, “The elite included the aristocracy and the landed gentry. Their income came from inherited land or investments, and as the saying goes, ‘It takes money to make money’.” The meaning of this is that the only way you can be apart of the wealthy class is if you are apart of some part of hereditary lineage that is wealthy. The other part of this quote is that the rich keep on becoming richer t... ... middle of paper ... ...she is conversing with character Jack discussing his proposal of marrying Gwendolyn. Lady Bracknell says she regrets that she lives in a society that is only concerned with the way people appear. This incongruous because she is saying that she doesn’t enjoy taking part in a society that is concerned with the way people appear, but she only judges people on the way they show themselves and their wealth. Lady Bracknell contradicts herself when she makes this statement. Oscar Wilde pokes fun of peoples concern with appearance and reputation by having Lady Bracknell contradict herself. He uses this effectively because consistently throughout the play Lady Bracknell only judged people on the way they appear. Lady Bracknell’s contradictory statement allows the reader to understand in an humorous way that Victorian people only judged people on their wealth and appearance.

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