The Importance Of Being Earnest An Attack On Victorian Society Essay

The Importance Of Being Earnest An Attack On Victorian Society Essay

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To what extent is the importance of being Earnest an attack on Victorian society or a vehicle to showcase Wildes literacy prowess?
Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is a beautifully constructed depiction of nineteenth century Victorian life. The quirky and often irreverent situations presented were often witty and amusing but in many instances revealed a biting critique of traditional expectations and behaviour. Wilde arguably would have used the play to showcase his literary prowess and it is to what extent that Wilde used the play as a platform or used the play to expose hypocritical values that would be questioned by both contemporary and modern audiences.
Wilde presents marriage as a state that is accepted in its superficiality. Lady Bracknell states’ ‘when you do become engaged to someone, I, or your father… will inform you of the fact’’. This statement exemplifies the typecast of a firm Victorian women reinforcing the idea that marriage was a business arrangement,; marriages were understood to be a useful financial and social ‘alliance’ instead of a joint enterprise of love and commitment. Lady Bracknell attempts to impose these illogical concepts from her own generation which are based on traditions and conventions. Wilde conveys this idea of ridiculing the truth of Victorian society, as a vehicle to create comedy for the audience though the unbelievable absurdity of the older generations self-serving lifestyle.
Marriage was a façade that resulted in people like Algernon resorting to alternative forms of companionship in an attempt to suffer their entrapment. He relates ‘’if ever I get married, ill certainly try to forget the fact’’ in order to be part of the charade as seen in his comment society (e.g. Jac...


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...ly and Algernon interacting without chaperones ; showing Cecily’s fantasises about her desires to make decisions for herself that make her happy not what is expected of her.
The Importance of Being Earnest is Wilde 's most popular work; Max Beerbohm called the play ‘’Wilde 's finest, most undeniably his own", indeed this successful play is due to Wildes literacy prowess such as his use of epigrams, paradox and satirical devices through charters. However, Wilde’s life can be interpreted/reflected in Algernon, who has shown a love for aestheticism and flamboyancy of living life to the fullest, which Wilde did.Althogh some people think that it is Wildes scornful distaste for Victorian society is the driving force for his comedic success in this play, hence, I would say it is his craft that makes this play successful, as shown in The picture of Dorian Gray and Salomé



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