Wilde's Critique of Victorian Society in The Importance of Being Earnest

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About this sample


Words: 2074 |

Pages: 5|

11 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2021

Words: 2074|Pages: 5|11 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2021

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde utilizes parody to deride the social standards of marriage, love and mentality which were inflexible during the Victorian Age. Since it utilizes parody to mock these institutions, it shows the aberrance from the social request by making strange the thoughts of principles, ethics, and habits. By attempting to address the defects of the characters in this play, this piece additionally fills in as an incredible type of criticism. 'The play truly owes something to the reclamation comic custom.'

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Wilde was an ace at the craft of turning the English language around to accommodate his snide topics and in this play, he achieved that to an elevated level. The title of this piece is even a play-on-words 'Earnest' which can mean two distinct things. It can mean the conspicuous and be the real character’s name, yet it likewise can mean a feeling of earnestness and he at that point passes on that reality into reality for the characters. The two primary characters in the play, Jack and Algernon, bent over backward to be 'Earnest' and 'Earnest' in the play. They start their relationship dependent on the lies in the expectation of a wedding the young ladies that they love. There is an incongruity in the play when the two of them call themselves 'Earnest', a name that proposes genuineness and earnestness, yet the two of them make stories to circumvent something or the other. Jack makes a sibling called 'Ernest' in the city that he utilizes as a 'scapegoat' to leave his demure and legitimate, good nation life, while Algernon makes a companion by the name of 'Bunbury' to get away from his auntie's high-class society parties. He shows his absence of enthusiasm for such a get-together when he tells Jack, “She will place me next to Mary Farquhar, who always flirts with her own husband across the dinner table. That is not very pleasant It looks so bad. It is simply washing one’s clean linen in public.” 

The Importance of Being Earnest spotlights on two principal couples, Jack and Gwendolen and Algernon and Cecily. Both Gwendolen and Cecily long to have a spouse called 'Ernest.' They both spot accentuation on such an insignificant issue as a name. At the point when Jack endeavors to disclose to Gwendolen that his name is true 'Jack' and not 'Ernest' she answers saying, 'Jack” No, there is almost no music in the name Jack, if any whatsoever, for sure.' (Wilde,)

The main extremely safe name is Ernest.' Wilde intentionally uses sham in the play to misrepresent the mind edge of the high society. It is seen here that Gwendolen adores Jack, however, she puts more prominent significance on senseless, shallow and minor issues, for example, a name, something an individual has no influence over. Additionally, Cecily likewise fantasies about adoring somebody called 'Ernest.' She plainly states to Algernon, 'There is something in that name that appears to rouse supreme certainty. I feel sorry for any poor wedded lady whose spouse isn't called Ernest.'(Wilde,). Once more, Wilde is caricaturing the organization of marriage, as it did not depend on adoration, yet on progressively vain shallow criteria. In spite of the fact that for this situation there is distortion used to ridicule the vanity of the privileged people, Wilde still brings over the point that both Gwendolen and Cecily may have wouldn't wed the 'men they had always wanted's if their names weren't 'Ernest.' In Act Three of the play when Cecily inquires as to whether he would hold up until she was thirty-five years to be hitched (Wilde), despite the fact that Algy says truly, Cecily gruffly discloses to him she can't.I couldn't stand by constantly. I loathe standing by even five minutes for anyone. It makes me rather cross.'(Wilde) One would imagine that in the wake of envisioning such an extensive amount the man she professes to adore, standing by to be hitched will be a little support to inquire. Truth be told, Wilde utilizes another couple, Miss Prism and Mr. Chasuble as a foil to show the difference between a relationship based on adoration and one based on other materialistic, shallow qualities. Miss Prism is by all accounts the main lady who doesn't have an ulterior thought process in the play when comes to marriage and love. Indeed, even Algernon appears to have ulterior thought processes. He has never met Cecily, yet when he sees her, he is a split second becomes hopelessly enamored with her. Besides, his negative perspectives on marriage in the opening scene, where he alludes to it as 'dispiriting,' appear to all of a sudden change when he meets Cecily. It very well may be surmised that Algernon's chapter 11 impacts his appreciation for Cecily. Both Jack and Algernon are resolved to get themselves dedicated so as to clutch Gwendolen and Cecily. That likewise gives some degree of vanity in the men as they are not even somewhat irritated that the ladies place such a great amount of accentuation on their names. These couples appear to wear covers as they all seem one way, however, they appear to have some ulterior intentions behind their activities. Gwendolen and Cecily both show up as women when they initially meet, calling each other sisters, 'My early introductions of individuals are rarely off-base.' Yet when they accept that they’ve locked into the equivalent 'Ernest,' there is prompt frigidity between them. Gwendolen satirically says to Cecily, 'I am happy to state that I have never observed a spade. Clearly, our social circles have been generally unique.' (Wilde) This is called 'camouflaging' as the characters aren't truly wearing covers, yet allegorically they are on the whole claiming to be somebody they aren't. There is the division among truth and character and it shows that occasionally certain laws in the public arena power individuals to have twofold existences. 

Woman Bracknell is the main impetus behind the plot of The Importance of Being Earnest. She speaks to ladies of the Victorian privileged society and accepts that those of high class ought to be the ones in control. She has almost no assessment of those with no title, or cash and perspectives the privileged society similar to a 'shut club.' at the end of the day, a great many people don't have the right to be in it except if they were naturally introduced to it. She shows up as a gatekeeper of society in that she strongly directs who ought to wed who in the play. In the primary scene, Gwendolen can't protect herself from needing to wed Jack when he proposes to her. Woman Bracknell solidly steps in saying, 'Excuse me, you are not locked into anybody. At the point when you do wind up connected to somebody, I, or your dad, will advise you.' Lady Bracknell is depicted as an intense character who rules out restriction. Despite the fact that Gwendolen needs to restrict her, she hasn't the solidarity to do as such. Wilde utilizes Lady Bracknell to show a commonplace blue-blood who twists no standards of the high society. One model where he shows how esteems are modified and accentuation is put on increasingly inconsequential issues is where Lady Bracknell meets with Jack to talk about Gwendolen. In this scene, we see that instead of inquiring as to whether he cherishes Gwendolen (which would appear to be the most significant inquiry); Lady Bracknell centers around its materialistic side. She examines Jack concerning his cash, land, house and the territory in which he lives. She clarifies that it's significant for Jack to have a house in the town in light of the fact that Gwendolen can't live in a nation house. It is likewise observed here that Lady Bracknell treats the paltry things truly, despite the fact that she should be an upholder of the estimations of society. In any case, little consideration is paid to virtues. Instead, Lady Bracknell is disappointed with the side of which Jack's townhouse is found the unfashionable side. She imagines that everybody's advantage will be like hers and inconspicuously lets him know, 'The unfashionable side. I thought there was something. Any way that could without much of a stretch be changed.' The whole manner by which Lady Bracknell meets with Jack is just as she is of an unrivaled being than him. She brings down his solutions to her inquiries in a notebook, just as it's a meeting as opposed to an individual gathering with her girl's adoration. The setting of the gathering reflects how Lady Bracknell sees marriage. It's progressively similar to talking somebody for the activity of being Gwendolen's significant other instead of becoming acquainted with the man her girl is keen on. Upon the stun that Jack was found and he doesn't have the foggiest idea who his genuine guardians are, Lady Bracknell promptly rejects him, particularly when she discovers that he was found in a satchel. The sham proceeds with when she tells Jack, I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over.

This is a very unimaginable solicitation of Lady Bracknell, as clearly Jack has no information about his genuine guardians. Despite the fact that he realizes that he urgently needs to wed Gwendolen, he doesn't conceal his surprise upon Lady Bracknell's solicitation, 'Well I don't perceive how I could figure out how to do that. I can create the satchel at any minute.' This basically features how trifling the significant things are to Lady Bracknell and how significant the unimportant things are to her. This is a significant point Oscar Wilde centers around in this satire of habits esteems are completely turned around.

Another case of Lady Bracknell's numbness of the non-privileged people is seen where she is prepared to choose not to see Cecily when she hears that Algernon is locked into her. She promptly judges Cecily dependent on the way that Jack is her gatekeeper. In any case, her perspectives right away change when Jack discloses to her that Cecily has a hundred and thirty thousand pounds in reserves, 'A hundred and thirty thousand pounds! Miss Cardew appears to be a most appealing youngster since I take a gander at her.' Once again accentuation is set on an individual's riches as opposed to their character, earnestness, or empathy for the other. Marriage is seen as a financial factor, whereby individuals wed for riches or to monitor riches in their families, particularly Lady Bracknell who speaks to the gatekeeper of high society. She is anyway a poser and utilizations social ethics to her benefit. For instance, she will not give Jack a chance to wed Gwendolen due to his social foundation, yet she attempts to legitimize a broke Algernon wedding the rich Cecily. Her social lip service is featured when she additionally admits that she was not rich when she hitched her significant other. 'Never talk impolitely of Society, Algernon. Just individuals who can't get into it do that. At the point when I wedded to Lord Bracknell I had no fortune of any sort.' She moreover imagines that her status gives her the privilege to support of the marriage among Cecily and Algernon without asking Jack what he thinks. Inevitably, the two sides go to an understanding and Jack's name goes out to truly be Ernest and he's truly Lady Bracknell's nephew. Wilde gives the run of the mill glad closure where everybody lives cheerfully ever after and the harsh cover that Lady Bracknell wears gradually transforms into a grin.

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Taking everything into account, The Importance of Being Earnest unequivocally centers around those of the high society and the vanity of the privileged people who spot accentuation on trifling issues concerning marriage. Both Algernon and Jack expect the character of 'Ernest' yet amusingly, the two of them are starting their conjugal lives dependent on misleading and lies. Woman Bracknell speaks to the model privileged person who powers the idea of marriage dependent on riches or status instead of adoration. Through joke and distortion, Wilde satirically uncovers the absurd and paltry issues that the high society views as being significant. As said before, a satirical piece normally has an educational side to it. For this situation, Lady Bracknell discovers that a similar individual she was reprimanding is really her very own fragile living creature and blood. 

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Wilde’s Critique Of Victorian Society In The Importance Of Being Earnest. (2021, November 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Wilde’s Critique Of Victorian Society In The Importance Of Being Earnest.” GradesFixer, 22 Nov. 2021,
Wilde’s Critique Of Victorian Society In The Importance Of Being Earnest. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
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