The Influence Of Being Lent: The Importance Of Being Earnest

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 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. The Importance of Being Earnest was first played in 1894 during the Victorian era. Oscar Wilde was educated at Oxford, he prospered in College and settled in London in 1878, where he was accepted into the upper-class and aristocratic circles of the society at the time. In this society he developed a set of values and attitudes in which influenced his works. The Victorian era was the period in history in which there was a rigid social class structure in which comprised of a large working class, the upper class, the aristocracy and the royal family. This rigid structure was upheld by a strong patriarchal society which was perceived to make moral decisions. The Victorian era was a time in whi... ... middle of paper ... ...nce is more important than love. This view portrayed through the figure of Lady Bracknell.. Lady Bracknell married well, and her primary goal in life was to see her daughter Gwendolen do the same. Lady Branknell states“I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which I think is never advisable”. This shows how society has made the institution of marriage more about politics and social status and less about love. A socially respectable marriage has nothing to do with chemistry between the couple and everything to do with each individual’s heritage and wealth. Marriage is supposed to be based on love, Wilde in the play does not represent the ideologies of the time period in which it was written, it is a critique on the structure and attitudes that upheld in the society of the time.
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