Marriage And Love In Oscar Wilde's Play

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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. Wilde’s negative perception of marriage is shown in the conversations that Jack and Algernon have regarding Jacks intentions with Gwendolen. The concept that marriage is nothing more than a social contract is first brought up when Algernon complains about Jack and Gwendolen’s relations: Jack: I am in love with Gwendolen. I have come up to town expressly to propose to her. Algernon: I thought you had come up for pleasure? . . . I call that business. Jack: How utterly unromantic you are! (8) In this interaction, we see how the concept of a proposal is so unromantic to Algernon that he views it as a business interaction. In a way, marriage is in fact simply an arrangement; by signing a contract you agree to spend your life with someone. That being said, the underemphasis of something as monumental a decision as marriage juxtaposed with the
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