Theme Of Marriage In The Importance Of Being Earnest

1044 Words5 Pages
Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest presents a satirical critique of Victorian society, in which women are not only presented as, but also expected to act like mindless objects who are dutiful to their hyper-masculine husband. The expectation of men in Victorian society, however, was to act as bachelors with the end goal of getting married. These marriages were often not for love but rather for societal advancement, marrying into well-established English families. Even the actual marriages themselves Wilde’s play serves primarily to playfully mock Victorian society, especially the relationships and gender expectations which he claims lack real substance. Wilde’s portrayal of women in the play is somewhat contrary to society’s ideals…show more content…
Being able to provide for a wife and family meant that a was successful in his career and an attractive wife who manage the household and was attentive to her husband suggested true success within the male sex. Gwendolen and Cecily both grew up subscribing to the idea that women were meant to dream of marriage and had little other prospects, which caused them to over-romanticize and essentially fall in love with the name Earnest. The only condition these women have for their future husband is that he must be named Earnest, and idea which Wilde uses to in order to show how quick society is to judge and assign value to a person based off of trivial ideals. Jack, although his familial origin is originally unknown, is well-off due to his inheritance and earns money through investments (a respectable method of income), clearly loves and could certainly provide for Gwendolen, but, because his name is not Earnest, she would not consider him a potential suitor. Cecily frequently hears of the troubled exploits of Jack’s (admittedly invented) brother, Earnest yet she creates an imaginary relationship with the man, and keeps an extensive diary detailing their relationship. By presenting the folly of these two girls, Wilde suggests that Victorian relationships are not built on substance but rather societal
Open Document