Lady Windermere's Fan is a witty commentary on the wiles of social properness in late 19th century England. Oscar Wilde was a flamboyant homosexual understandably critical of the norms of his day. Within the play, lie subtle and overt contradictions about the "properness" of the high born upper-class. During the Victorian period, strict rules governed mannerisms, protocol, etiquette, decency, etc. This decorum became too oppressive for Wilde's taste. The morality of the upper-class is supposedly the standard of the day, to which everyone is evaluated. However, in this play, the morality of the main characters pivots more on the situation instead of social status. Independent from inner intentions, all characters are only moral when its self-serving. Obvious examples are Lady Windermere and the Duchess. Lady Windermere tries to be superlative at the expense of being realistic. The Duchess pretends to be proper but is exposed by her contradictory statements. Less overt examples include Lord Windermere and Lord Darlington. (Secretly, I think Lord Darlington is Wilde himself.) Lord Windermere tries to uphold his family name through dubious relations with a scandalous woman. While Lord Darlington does not represent himself as a proper person, he becomes conveniently judgmental when he feels he has a chance with Lady Windermere. On the bottom of the social pyramid lies the characters who do not pretend to be proper: Lord Augustus Lorton, Mr. Cecil Graham and Mrs. Erlynne. All of these characters admit their transgressions (gossip, scandals, etc) and make no apology for themselves. On the top of the pyramid lie the epitome of properness: Lady Plymdale, Lady Stutfie...
... middle of paper ...
...itude to take towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. I never take any notice of what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do." Wilde's recurring themes on the importance of "imagination, self-development, and individualism" are apparent in this play. The characters portray people who are very serious and common at the same time. How fanciful and carefree is life? Well, no one knows until they sincerely become completely unrestrained and untainted. Quite plainly the play reminds us to live for ourselves (as Lord Darlington would) and for the moment because otherwise one lives for something or someone else. After all, good and bad are relative terms, mere labels. They are not absolute terms, thus, everything is nothing until it is compared to something else. This is the heart of the aesthetic thinker.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- “New Historicism is a literary theory based on the idea that literature should be studied and interpreted within the context of both the history of the author and the history of the critic.” Lady Windermere’s Fan applies to the historicist view by showing The Duchess of Berwick’s power over her daughter Lady Agatha Carlisle in order to agree with what society expects during the Victorian era. Men were also considered very dominate in this era just like Lord Windermere and Lord Darlington. Wilde uses the Duchess as a vehicle to portray “the materialism that lies beneath society’s stern morality” (Eltis 92).... [tags: submissive, victorian, gender]
791 words (2.3 pages)
- Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin Ireland on October 16, 1854. He is one of the most talented and most controversial writers of his time. He was well known for his wit, flamboyance, and creative genius and with his little dramatic training showing his natural talent for stage and theatre. He is termed a martyr by some and may be the first true self-publicist and was known for his style of dress and odd behavior. Wilde, 1882 His Father, William Wilde, was a highly accredited doctor and his mother, Jane Francesca Elgee, was a writer of revolutionary poems.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1130 words (3.2 pages)
- In The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde revealed that animalistic traits can tint a character’s intellectual attributes. All of the characters possess an overwhelming desire which seems to diminish their morality. Wilde uses Jack Worthing’s animalistic behaviors to reveal that his animal self is damaging his intellectual self. The play is presented to show that the characters retain an exaggerated pleasure with food, which shows their pleasures in inanimate objects. Every character in the play is drawn into lustful relationships, thus mutilating their psychological self.... [tags: the importance of being earnest, oscar wilde]
1261 words (3.6 pages)
- Oscar Wilde liked to be right. Wait—no, no, that’s not right. Let’s try that again. Oscar Wilde liked people to think he was right. He had the uncanny ability of saying something that sounded good and then doing the exact opposite. Some would call that hypocrisy, but the more popular term for it seems to be “genius” judging by his status as a renowned writer and still-popular celebrity. Genius or not, Wilde knew how to put together a sentence. His life was one for the books, and his book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is one ripe for the analysis.... [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]
1988 words (5.7 pages)
- Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband Oscar Wilde (1845-1903) lived an outrageous and controversial life which was well publicized and condemned, as his life defied the strict social mores of the time. He was put into this public position due to the success of his plays which challenged Victorian earnestness while being hilariously funny. His plays, in particular An Ideal Husband, 1895 portray Victorian society as viciously hypocritical at it's worst and laughably pretentious at it's best.... [tags: Oscar Wilde Papers]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Art. It's Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art can be so beautiful or so hideous. So monotonous or poignant. So imaginative or clichéd. So right or wrong. Art really has no moral, does it. Although the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray has no ethical stance, it was not Oscar Wilde's intention to have a moral. It was to show the splendor of art for art's sake. Through out the paperback of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, wildly shows his beliefs in art for art's sake (Cauti XIV).... [tags: Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Analysis]
1814 words (5.2 pages)
- Oscar Wilde Art We begin another chapter in the life of Oscar Wilde, the year 1888, many things have taken place, Oscar has been married and bore two children, Vyvyan and Cyril and his touring of the United States and other countries have brought forth success to the literary giant. Some of his successful writings are "The Picture of Dorian Gray"(1891), "A Woman of No Importance"(1894) and his most resent essay known "The Decay of Lying". Is it true that lying has fallen to its deepest shadow of shame.... [tags: Oscar Wilde Writer Papers]
1491 words (4.3 pages)
- Oscar Wilde's 'The Young King' is the tale of a young man's metamorphosis, through a dream quest, that opens his eyes to the heart rendering struggle of the poor, who are exploited by the rich and the powerful to satisfy their own selfish needs. The change that takes place in the Young King reflects his attainment of the virtue asked for in Christ's message. The story begins with "the night before the day fixed for his coronation" and the young king, "being but sixteen years of age" sits alone in his opulent chambers adorned with rich and beautiful things.... [tags: Oscar Wilde]
1777 words (5.1 pages)
- Oscar Wilde and His Fairy Tales I. Introduction Wilde, Oscar (Fingal O’Flahertie Wills) (b. Oct. 16, 1854, Dublin, Ire ?d. Nov. 30, 1900, Paris, Fr.) Irish wit, poet and dramatist whose reputation rests on his comic masterpieces Lady Windermere’s Fan (1893) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1899). He was a spokesman for Aestheticism, the late19th-century movement in England that advocated art for art’s sake. However, Oscar Wilde’s takeoff of his enterprise and, his shaping of his characteristic style of works could be both considered originating from his fairy tales.... [tags: Oscar Wilde Fairy Tales Literature Essays]
5124 words (14.6 pages)
- Salome by Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde’s gruesome and controversial play begs and important question. Who is Salome. In the bible this woman is not even given a name. She is the daughter of Herodias who dances for the pleasure of her stepfather, Herod. Perhaps the very fact that she remains unnamed is part of the mystery and problem that is Salome. There was no need to name this type of woman in patriarchal Christian religion. Yet, Salome’s story continues to inspire and terrify both her champions and her harshest critics.... [tags: Salome Oscar Wilde Essays]
1340 words (3.8 pages)