Many authors have applied lampooning in their work to bring to light certain issues by criticizing different ideas in society such as politics, class division, wealth, and marriage by adding irony, sarcasm, and ridicule to emphasize the ludicrousy of the issue the author evaluated. One author that incorporated lampooning in his plays was Oscar Wilde. For example, in The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde publicly criticized the Victorian society so that audience was conscious of the foolishness that occurred in their society. In The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde used irony and satire to ridicule the views of the upper class, such as their obsession with wealth, their shallow, and materialistic personality.
How and why is a social group represented in a particular way? In his play The Importance of Being Earnest (1895, London St. James’ theater), Oscar Wilde portrays the attitudes and society of Victorian upper class through character interactions within the ‘Bunburyist’ adventures of Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing. The play’s comedic elements, in addition to the portrayal of power structures, are used as an effective medium to challenge the viewer to reflect upon Wilde’s criticism on institutions and values of the aristocracy. In conjunction to this, deeper analysis can be conducteds about marriage in Victorian aristocracy and their attitudes to members of other social groups.
In the 1800’s, America was the subject of many romantic visions and musings. The British and East Coasters alike saw everything west of Appalachia as a wild wonderland: home to cowboys, adventure, and opportunity. Oscar Wilde, a renowned British author and satirist, voyaged across America to test the truth of these claims. Afterwards, he published his findings and opinions in a piece known as Impressions of America. In the piece, he makes it clear that America did not live up to his expectations, and would disappoint his readers as well. 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.
In the play “The Importance Being Earnest” Oscar Wilde wants to show that the caricature on high society. The play was in the 1800’s. A caricature is a charter or a physical fentress that exaggerates by making it bigger or smaller to make a person notice and laugh to show their weakness. Oscar Wilde makes us think if it’s really important to be earnest ? The story is about two boys that want to be named Earnest, so because of that they have a double life and they will need to handle the problems. Oscar Wilde want to make a caricature on high society by egaterating on Love, Manners and Death.
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. This essay illustrates how Wilde reinforce his criticism of the upper class at a satirical tone with his writing style at three levels: inter-scene, intra-scene, and within a word.
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.
Primary sources are imperative in building a picture of 19th century Britain as they give us a first-hand insight into what life may have being like during the Victorian age. Upper, Middle and lower-class women in Victorian society had a very limited role, however had very different lives depending on wealth. Upper-class women had everything they needed finest clothing, servants and enjoyed everything money could offer however, had very little power. The lower-class women had less choice and although could never rise to an upper-class standing unless through marriage, they had some opportunity to rise beyond the lowest areas of society through work, becoming a prostitute or possibly a kept woman.
During Victorian society, the high class individuals led dual lives. One side of their life would be devoted to making a good reputation of themselves in front of the public. The other side of their life would involve releasing all their desires by carrying out reckless actions. These actions aren’t meant to be seen by the public because the reputation of the individual would be ruined.
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.
In society of the Regency period, every aspect of one’s life was greatly analyzed and examined. Any deviation from the set norm was considered uncivilized. In a time period where reputation was the most memorable part of a family's life, being considered uncivilized would entirely ruin their standing. Some may say that all of the characters were simply fighting to be a normal part of society; Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s desires ended up with disagreeable results, each of the daughters deviated from society’s expectations, and Elizabeth did not allow any social norms to stand in her way of marriage for love. These examples exhibit the characters’ struggle to not be average and compliant members of society.
Jeren Yong Mr. Todd Language and Literature, Writing to Compare Satire 10 January 2018 “The Importance of Being Earnest” VS. “Big Kiss” This play’s setting is in the Victorian society. Wilde is writing this play as a satire to emphasize the ridiculousness of the Victoria society. The author wants to say how stupid the people are; they only care about the social status of people.
Not only do individuals change to meet the higher class standards, but they also change to meet the needs of the average class. “You are my little cousin Cecily, I’m sure” (60). Algernon wanted to marry Cecily and the only way of doing that, he thought, was by making a second identity. The last example how Wilde used exaggeration to show individuals couldn’t make decisions without the impact of society is when Lady Bracknell constantly lied regarding Jack being apart her family. Jack has never known who his mother or father was.
As a writer one is greatly influenced by their personal experiences with social, historical, and cultural context within their specific time period. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray was shaped by the aspects of the world around him. The themes of the text are are influenced by morality in the Victorian Era. Throughout the Victorian Era a deeper movement was also prominent in London called Aestheticism. Aestheticism is the worship of beauty and self-fulfillment. 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 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.
Another theme illustrated through Wilde’s use of motifs and symbols is the theme of superficiality. The theme of superficiality can be understood as a sense of the superficial view of outer beauty that is shown in the work. It relates to the concept of remaining young, which is an important factor of what is shown in the novel. This is an important part of the novel because outer beauty plays a bigger role for Dorian, than inner beauty does. In the beginning of the novel, Lord Henry and Dorian have a conversation that focuses on the topic of youth and Dorian 's outer beauty – Lord Henry mentions the fact that Dorian has a beautiful face, and later during this conversation, Lord Henry states that: “youth is the only thing worth having…” (Wilde 23). This conversation leads Dorian to wish that he will only age in the painting, and not in reality. Wilde creates a theme of superficiality as he shows through motifs and symbols how Dorian’s sinful and horrific inner beauty becomes excused as the characters of the novel primarily superficially values Dorian’s outer beauty.