Victorian Society In Oscar Wilde

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Reflection of Victorian Society in Oscar Wilde’s Selected Plays Abstract The motive of this paper is to reflect the societal norms and the Victorian principles that were ingrained in the society and how the men and women of that era conformed to the norms. The aforementioned idea has been displayed through the plays written by the very renowned Victorian writer, Oscar Wilde, known for his wit and humour that he incorporates in his plays and subtly brings to the readers’ knowledge the sham of the society. Keywords- Victorian society, Comedy of Manners,Wit, stock characters. Victorian Age (1837-1901) The beginning of the Victorian age is often deemed to be 1832, that is when the first Reform Bill was passed. Otherwise the age is marked with…show more content…
Several other reform movements came into picture like that of emancipation, child labour, women’s rights and evolution. It is considered an age of doubt and pessimism. Darwin’s much debated theory of evolution emerged in this that was first formulated in his book ‘On the Origin of Species’ in 1859. The Early Victorian Age was marked by the great writers such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, who was also the representative poet of the age, Matthew Arnold and Robert Browning. Browning is popular for the use of dramatic monologue, his very famous work, My Last Duchess. Matthew Arnold was a critic as well as a poet who came up with the Touchstone Method of criticism. 1848 had the establishment of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood that was founded by a group of English artists, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, W.H. Hunt and John Millais. They discarded the prevalent practice of the academic style in painting and reverted to the truthfulness, simplicity and the spirit of devotion which they attributed to the Italian painting. This movement started by a group of painters was later taken over by the literary movement headed by D.G. Rossetti, his sister Christina Rossetti, William Morris and A.C. Swinburne. Emily Bronte, George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) and Charles Dickens are the celebrated novelists of the…show more content…
He was a remarkable playwright and his work was hailed as unique by the influential theatre critic William Archer: The one essential fact about Mr. Oscar Wilde’s dramatic work is that it must be taken on a very highest plane of Modern English drama, and, furthermore, that it stands alone on that plane. In intellectual calibre, artistic competence- and in dramatic instinct- Mr Wilde has no rival among his fellow workers for the stage (review of A Woman of No Importance in World, 26 April 1893). Wilde was writing for the stage at a time when critics and fellow playwrights were campaigning for new theatre writing to be ‘literary’, offering intellectual and political challenges to its audiences. Continental playwrights such as Zola, Ibsen and Strindberg had already demonstrated that the stage could air radical social ideas. These innovators, and their British counterparts, were rebelling against the commercial interests which dominated the theatre practice at the time. They rejected the traditions of spectacular melodrama, music hall, long-running revivals of Shakespeare’s plays and, in Britain, translations of well-made-plays, all of which made the standard fare of theatrical entertainment in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In this context Wilde was revolutionary because he delivered plays which were politically engaged, artistically innovative and commercially
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