The Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde is an excellent play which has many underlying themes and suggestions especially with regards to the Victorian era, during which this was written. Many themes within the play are reflective of Wilde and his life, including his secrecy and supposed “double life,” his interest in aestheticism, his life pertaining the mannerisms and social etiquette during his lifetime. Today, Oscar Wilde is often remembered in part due to his well known homosexuality trial of 1895 (Linderd, 1), but his “second life” per se had been speculated on for years prior to it, in fact many of his plays contain subtle yet effective implications towards a possible piece of his life kept hidden from the public eye. The Importance of Being Earnest mirrored this double life through the utilization of Jack and Algernon's “Bunburying,” and their motives for lying to the ones whom they love. It is a simplistic connection to make that these characters feel as though …show more content…
“Art for arts sake” was the motto and aestheticism was exemplified in both The Importance of Being Earnest and Oscar Wilde's own life. The usage of a dandy in the play is used to exemplify the love toward fashion during the time period, as well as to add comedic release through speaking in sarcasm and epigrams (Walker, 1). Wilde himself could be identified as a dandy in that he had an infatuation with interesting fashion and dressing well, as was he was often recognized as witty and quick on his feet in his conversations and his writing. Wilde was also known by many to be greatly interested in decoration and interior design, as displayed through his North American speech tour “A House Beautiful.” This exemplifies the Victorian eras high standards in appearance and visual
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Both characters face very similar struggles, despite not being in the same world. The similarity between their living situations caused them to face
Just as in the scene prior to Daphne’s arrival at the hotel, where Sugar calls Jerry a ‘sweetheart’ when he picks up her luggage—as a hopeful courter—and Daphne calls Osgood a ‘sweetheart’ when he does the same for him, there is significantly no shirking from the romantic nature of this meeting. However, Daphne’s meeting with Osgood is more strictly adherent to gender expectations—a man pursuing a woman—than Sugar’s is with Junior—a woman pursuing a man. Here, again, we see Wilder’s wink to the audience—this time a true subversion of gender expectations. Therefore, this scene and to a wider extent, this film, works by doing the unexpected even as it follows the rulebook to the letter. It is ultimately the act of pushing convention—but not too far—that makes this comedy so
Love is a complicated affair, it involves the two lives of the couples and the lives of everyone around them. There are many factors that could break or make a relationship, for one to be successful they must be able to succeed in all of those factors. Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest delves into these factors regarding love and marriage. Wilde stresses the importance of social status and gender expectations as a key guideline for a successful marriage. For Wilde, social status is defined as birth, wealth, and power.
Art, artifice and identity is the theme explored through the use of the two chosen stimulus texts Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl and The Importance of Being Earnest, written by Wendy Jones and Oscar Wilde respectively. Art and artifice merge as Grayson Perry uses his alter-ego, Claire, to express his creativity and identity. Similarly, the artifice of an alter-ego is part of The Importance of Being Earnest, as the play's protagonists, Jack and Algernon, deceive family and friends by lying about their identity to suit them best. The texts used to explore the theme are a review for the Guardian on the Grayson Perry memoir and an excerpt from Jack's diary set before the events in The Importance of Being Earnest
Throughout the story of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, Oscar pointed out many oblivious actions done by the characters. He constantly used the characters to exaggerate actions of our society today. Wilde uses exaggerations to show how the characters were unable to be a complete individual without the face of the strict social expectations influencing their actions. Everywhere in the society, they are all unable to make their own decisions, and it is very hard for them to be truthful towards who they are without societal norms interfering causing them to lose all individuality. Wilde uses reversal to show how the characters actions were completely insane since they were trying to accommodate societal expectations.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of Oscar Wilde’s masterpieces, portrays one of the most important values and principles for him: aestheticism. As a criticism to the life lived during the Victorian era in England, Wilde exposed a world of beauty a freedom in contradiction to the lack of tolerance a limitation of that era; of course inspired due to Wilde’s personal life. All the restrictions of the Victorian England lead him to a sort of anarchism against what he found to be incoherent rules, and he expressed all this to his art. His literature is a strong, political and social criticism. He gave a different point of view to controversial topics such as life, morality, values, art, sexuality, marriage, and many others, and epigrams, for what he is very well known, where the main source to the exposure of his interpretations of this topic.
Oscar Wilde’s satirical play The Importance of Being Earnest, set in the late Victorian era, London, is a portrayal of British upper class society and its conventions surrounded by a strict code of conduct. In 1890’s class society, earnestness was desired; to follow the moral code and social obligations in order to keep up one’s appearance. Besides, there was a huge gender disparity between men and women. In the play, Wilde criticizes the social inequality and Victorian upper class standards. He characterizes Victorian personae making fun of their qualities; hypocrisy, arrogance and absurdism, ultimately the very vital state and lifeline of not being earnest at all in Victorian society.
Through this satirical writing, Wilde uses comparison of beauty and industrialism and juxtaposition between compliments and criticism to paint American social values as backwards and unappealing in order to dispel the glamour of a romantic American culture.
Oscar Wilde’s Victorian melodramatic play The Importance of Being Earnest opened on February 14, 1895. Wilde used this play to criticize Victorian society through clever phrasing and satire. Throughout the play The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde displayed the themes of the nature of marriage, the constraints of morality, and the importance of not being earnest. One of the themes that Oscar Wilde includes in the play is the nature of marriage.
Wilde’s comedic influence takes place in the characters placing emphasis on trivial things and treating serious matters with inconsequence. Though this play could be viewed as a simple comedy, what makes it a satirical work is the underlying social commentary. Wilde highlights his views on institutions such as love, marriage, and gender relations by satirizing their nature via reductio ad absurdum and thereby reveals their essential frivolity. Though marriage is traditionally viewed by society as the final step in a lover’s journey, Wilde intentionally separates marriage and love to the point where they seem mutually exclusive.
Oscar Wilde wrote his plays against the backdrop of the Victorian English society. It therefore helps to discuss the salient aspects of the Victorian society. Victorian England is known for many paradoxes -- glaring contrasts between the rich and the poor, insistence on morality on the one hand and the practice of cynicism on the other, blooming creativity pitted against blatant constriction, imperial grandeur since Britain was then ruling almost one fifth of the total surface of the earth and domestic squalor since the majority of people did not have decent means of livelihood, and finally collectivity dictated by tradition opposed to the rapidly developing individualism. The class system denied the talented members of the lower classes access to social and economic advancement. The upper classes alone had the privilege of working in the government, the armed forces, and the church, while trade was monopolized by the rising middle class.
arch 2018 The Importance of Being Earnest: Oscar Wilde’s Criticism on the Upper Class Using humor, cleverness, and style, Oscar Wilde illustrates the lives of the Victorian upper class in The Importance of Being Earnest. More specifically, the “Trivial Comedy for Serious People” reveals in a satirical manner the insignificant concerns of Great Britain’s aristocracy. In the introduction of The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings, editor Richard Ellmann creates an overview of Wilde’s best known work.
Wilde is greatly influenced by the societal movements in the Victorian Era, therefore the theme of hedonism is prominent displaying the influence of Aestheticism in The Picture of Dorian Gray and further explaining the consequences of selfishness and self-pleasure. The Aestheticism movement shockingly challenged all past standards of love, pleasure, and sexuality. Specifically this Victorian movement “promotes sexual… experimentation. ”(Burdett)
While many have been familiar with the title of the play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, one should also pay attention to its subtitle, ‘trivial comedy for serious people’. The play is a satire that ridicules the upper class to point out its fault (Kreuz and Roberts 100).The aim is to ridicule the ‘serious people’, members of the upper class in Victorian society. The characters were too attentive to social propriety and etiquette, which were as trivial as the comedy suggests in the eyes of Wilde. As they were too stubborn to alter the behaviour, the propriety and etiquette became superficial and meaningless. Their idleness and hypocrisy are other points at which Wilde recurrently mock in the play.