The Importance Of Being Earnest

analytical Essay
1120 words
1120 words

Every text is an argument to the audience and every argument is influenced by a text and the audience surrounding the author. The Importance of Being Earnest is a play written by Oscar Wilde which was first performed in 1895. The plot centers around the proposal of marriage between Jack Worthing and Gwendolen Bracknell and also the proposal from Jack’s friend and Gwendolen 's cousin Algernon Moncrieff extended towards Jack’s ward, Cecily Cardew. In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde uses the ideas of his time period, his own background, and absurd comedy to argue that the views of marriage and gender held by those in Victorian Era England are wrong and hypocritical. The Victorian Era in England was denoted by the reign of Queen …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that every text is an argument to the audience and every argument is influenced by a text. the importance of being earnest was written by oscar wilde and first performed in 1895.
  • Analyzes how wilde's portrayal of the victorian era in the importance of being earnest portrays the high standards and expectations that victorian gentlemen were held to.
  • Explains that oscar wilde was influenced by the values held by his audience, but unlike other members of victorian society, he refused to accept them.
  • Analyzes wilde's use of absurd and ironic comedy in the play to illustrate the absurdity of victorian society.
  • Analyzes how an audience and context influence an author creating a triangle of impact. oscar wilde uses the ideas of his time period, comparing them to his own, and criticizing them in his play.

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. …show more content…

In 1877, Wilde accepted a job as editor of The Women’s World magazine, a fashion magazine for women. The Women’s World took a drastic change with Wilde in charge. Instead of displaying fashion in a shallow sense, Wilde encouraged the magazine to, “...invite debate over the legitimacy of women’s voices in mainstream British society while featuring consumable icons of femininity such as fans, lace, and feathers” (Green 103). By changing The Women’s World, Wilde became the editor of not just a fashion magazine, but a magazine that stood as an advocate for the women of his time period and an argument against the restrictions which held women back in Victorian society. Because of Wilde’s experience in the feminist environment of The Women’s World, he could expand his argument against the ideas of marriage and gender in the Victorian Era to readers who knew him as an established author, a person to be

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