Satire In The Importance Of Being Ernest

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Why “The Importance of Being Earnest” is Satire The Victorian Era occurred during the 1800s in the United Kingdom. Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a satire; it uses irony, humor, and exaggeration to expose societal norms, values, and ignorance. The play has two main characters, Jack and Algernon, who use different identities to escape their reality and all the responsibilities that come with it. Both characters make up many lies that later create problems for them and if it had not been for the values of their society they would not have to rely on false identities to enjoy their lives. By the use of satire, Oscar Wilde reveals the preposterous values of Victorian society, their views on marriage, and their beliefs …show more content…

In the play, when Jack or Earnest proposed to Gwendolen, and her mother found out, she strongly opposed it, “Pardon me, you are not engaged to anyone. When you do become engaged to someone, I, or your father, should his health permit him, will inform you of the fact” (Wilde 23). Readers would expect that her mother would be happy for her daughter and approve of them but ironically she does not. In modern times, people can choose who they want to marry, even if their parents disagree. However, Gwendolen could not marry without the approval of her parents. Earlier in the play, Jack and Algernon talk about Bunburying; using a false identity to escape their reality. Jack explains that he is a guardian of a girl named Cecily and that he needs to have high morals at all times, to get away from that he uses the name Earnest in the city to become another man. Jack says, “When one is placed in the position of guardian, one has to adopt a very high moral tone on all subjects. It's one's duty to do so. And as a high moral tone can hardly be said to conduce very much to either one's health or one's happiness…” (Wilde 12). Since Victorian society expects anyone with the role of guardianship to be strict and noble, people like Algernon and Jack need something to give them relief, like Bunburying. Bunburying, and lying to do so is exaggerated but it is enough to expose the society of the Victorian …show more content…

Daughters had very little say in who they could marry as previously mentioned, and it was the responsibility of guardians to marry them off to a man they approved of. In the play, marriage is not about love, it is more about financial and social status. In the play, after Jack proposes to Gwendolen, her mother questions Jack to see if he is “eligible” for her, “What is your income…In land, or in investments…That is satisfactory…” (Wilde 25). Lady Bracknell goes on to question Jack about his parents and housing. The people during this time were ignorant, they did not see that marriage was not only about money and social status, a marriage is also about love and care for one another. Lady Bracknell did not approve of Jack after questioning him, despite her knowing that her daughter and Jack were in love and they truly cared for each other. Later in the play, Algernon goes Bunburying to explore Jack's house in the country, and he meets Cecily Cardew, Jack's niece who he falls in love with instantly and asks for her to marry him. Even though Cecily agrees, Jack says that she can not marry without his consent and Lady Bracknell asks Cecily, “You are perfectly right in making some slight alteration. Indeed, no woman should ever be quite accurate about her age…Eighteen, but admitting to twenty at evening parties. Well, it will not be very long before you are of age and free from the restraints

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