Corruptness of Victorian Society

Topics: The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde, Sociology Pages: 2 (704 words) Published: April 6, 2009
The goal of most playwrights is to relay a message of concern or interest to the audience in order to inform or educate them on issues faced in society, giving them a position to form their own opinion on the issues portrayed. In Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Earnest, many of the Victorian society’s views on life were described and illustrated for the audience’s comprehension. Through the duration of the play, the true corruptness of the upper class was portrayed through a series of seemingly trivial events.

Born on October 16, in Dublin, Ireland, Oscar Wilde was an excellent student in his time. While attending Trinity College to study Greek philosophy and the Hellenistic view on life, he received a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, which makes him owner of two scholarships, as he was attending Trinity on a scholarship also. Oscar Wilde was the creator of many fiction, poetry, plays, and poems. His more major works entail of, An Ideal Husband, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and The Importance of Being Earnest. He also received Oxfords Newdigate Prize for his poem Ravenna In 1884 Wilde married Constance Mary Lloyd, and had two sons, Cryil and Vyvyan. In 1895, Wilde was charge with “gross indecency” homosexual acts under the Criminal Law Amendment, an was sentenced to two years of prison time. Wilde was stripped of his life at the age of 45, falling victim to meningitis.

The Victorian society’s upper class was governed by virtually endless “Do’s and don’ts” from the time their eyes opened in the morning, until they closed at night. Rather than worry about making the right decisions in life, other less important things such as “social ostracism” were the paramount worry during the day. In events that are more important, style and etiquette, not honesty and politeness, was the bigger focus in the upper class. “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.”(Wilde act 3) Gwendolen and Cecily agree to this while Algernon...
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