Realism In Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest

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Caught in an inescapable trap, many women, and to a lesser extent men, found themselves trapped by the ideas of Realism. The status of women, in terms of suppressed rights, economic opportunity, and equality with men were all subverted. Marriage was a supporting factor for this subversion, binding freedoms and taking away opportunity. Artists of the time like Wilde, Hogarth, and Norton mocked marriage as a fraud, and managed to sway the public opinion. But, when it came to offering equal opportunity for women, the male dominated field of art cared little. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, provides a powerful example of marriage being ridiculed. With one of the main characters, Algernon, criticizing marriage within the first few pages. He says: “I really don 't see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over…”(Wilde 3). This shows the utter contempt for that many artists viewed marriage with during the Realist Era. In another example, when all the main characters sit down for tea, the reader perceives the characters mocking the the pain and the weight that comes with marriage by cracking jokes about a recently widowed acquaintance by saying: “I hadn 't been there since her poor husband’s death. I never saw a woman so altered; she looks quite 20 years younger” (Wilde 8). It is clear that, marriage was

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