Oscar Wilde, the writer of The Importance of Being Earnest, celebrated the Victorian Era society while criticizing it in his play. Through his play, he utilized the humorous literary techniques of pun, irony, and satire to comment on the impact of Victorian Era society left on the characters themselves. These comedic literary devices also help to show how the members of this society in the Victorian Era live by a set of unspoken rules that determine politeness, as well as proper etiquette to live by. Wilde uses a pun in the title of the work, as well as in the character personalities. Different types of irony appear in many scenes in the play, to flout the rules of society, as well as mock the intelligence of the upper-class characters, compared to the lower-class characters.
In Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, the play is set in England in the 1890s. Wilde creates a play that is almost socialist as he questions about gender roles and the strict Victorian class system. The titles of the play suggest a disquisition on the value of solemnity in daily lives of the Victorian society. However, Wilde presents an ironic play that leaves the audience with the opposite lesson. Wilde’s play is mainly social comedy and farce, where he ridicules mentality, marriage, social class and the view on love in the Victorian society.
In his play, Wilde utilizes the techniques of inversion and puns to get his satire across, which work together to form a specific critique of marriage and social status in a Victorian society, and those that enforce these rules. Woolf, on the other hand, uses both parody and irony to create a more relatable and less direct viewpoint on society and the people who fit into it. Both Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf use satire to criticize gender roles and social status in a Victorian society, but through different techniques direct their satire at different audiences. In The Importance of Being Earnest, one of the most common satirical techniques utilized by Wilde is inversion. Inversion is considered a reversal of order, form, or another relationship.
The Victorian era, characterized by a transition in the population’s way of perceiving traditional social conventions. As in Oscar Wilde’s works, the different generations of the English population are divided by their way of perceiving the world in which they live. In Wilde’s comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, the author denunciates the hypocrisy of the Victorian Era’s upper class. The famous writer uses moral paradoxes, his characters’ double-lives and their unconcern for truthfulness to satirize the upper class’ disingenuousness through his work. Wilde first uses moral paradoxes in his work to critique the second estate’s pious nature.
The Importance of Being Earnest by famous literary provocateur 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, Wilde uses Lady Bracknell’s haughty comments to create elements of a satire comedy that parodies the upper class society in a Victorian era. Wilde also uses inversions and subversions of gender roles in society to challenge the social order. Through this Wilde exposes the upper class and their morals concerning social matters, therefore it can be said that the purpose of Wilde’s comedy was to educate people of the Victorian society and question their social norms and values. Works Cited The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde Comic Devices in The Importance of Being Earnest
Russell Jackson asserts that in The Importance of Being Earnest, 'Wilde simultaneously engaged with and mocked the forms and rules of society' To what extent is Wilde's play critical of society? The Importance of Being Earnest: a Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play written by, author, poet and playwright Oscar Wilde in 1894 and debuted at St James's Theatre in London in 1895. The Importance of Being Earnest is Wilde's most eminent work and renowned for its abundant quips and entertaining satirical views on Victorian values, marriage and love. He continuously mocks the hypocritical and superficial views of upper-class throughout the play. The pun in the title, is the initial mocking point as the true meaning of 'Earnest', is seriousness and sincerity, contrasting with the characters, as each individual continually tries to convince society that they are honest with strong morals and are able to abide by the strict social rules.
Because this play is meant to embody victorian society, Wilde is able to interpret and criticize the high importance of social identity to Victorians. The encompassing critic that Wilde addresses in his script involves the corrupt nature of society and the hypocrisy of presenting oneself as a wholesome, earnest person when reality indicates otherwise. This play symbolically allows us to view the characters as an example of all elite Victorian society. Bromige declares that, “reading or watching the play is to observe the unconscious of the society of Wilde’s day” (1). The bulk of the play revolves around the character’s fixation on their reputation and their desire to be seen prestigious members of society; Wilde makes a mockery of these priorities to satirize aristocracy.
The men in this play are also guilty of the manipulative desires for marriage. Oscar Wilde’s work is an aggression on Victorian Society because marriage was used as a social convenience. Oscar Wilde gives foreshadowing in the beginning of the play of what he has in mind about marriage. “Good Heavens! Is marriage so demoralizing as that?” (Wilde 1762) This essay will be proving the critique of marriage being used as a social tool.
This is another major factor to novel, where the plot is surrounded by a social hierarchy that condemns the poor to a life of misery, and yet, condones any action that would normally be seen as immoral when it occurs in the aristocracy. It expands on the idea that only an education and inheritance will bring success in society, with few exceptions. Lastly, Dickens expands his opinions of society through his mockery of ... ... middle of paper ... ...heir obsession with materials and wealth. However, though each class tries to rise higher than those below, the fact is that each class is crucial in the survival of the others. Works Cited Dickens, Charles.