Explore the Opening of ‘the Importance of Being Earnest’ Paying Particular Attention to the Range of Attitudes Towards Marriage.

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Explore the opening of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ paying particular attention to the range of attitudes towards marriage.

In The Importance of Being Earnest, various attitudes are explored by the main characters, which range in support of marriage to attacking the idea of marriage.

The play starts with Algernon playing the piano. He enters the scene, and asks lane what he thought of his playing. In response to Lane’s compliment, Algernon replies with ‘I don’t play accurately’. This shows us a decadent view. This could be suggested because Algernon was playing how he wanted to, and did not care for anyone else opinion on the matter. Alternatively, it could be argued that he’s playing for art’s sake. This was a saying that circulated during the Period, that meant that some art has no meaning or contextual importance, it is there just because the artist, playwright or author can create it. This could be suggested that Algernon meant this when he said ‘I don’t play accurately’ as he was playing just because he could. He goes onto say ‘that anyone can play accurately’ which enhances the view as it suggests he’s playing the piano inaccurately because it makes him an individual, and stand out from the crowd.

Marriage is one of the key issues and topics that are argued in the opening of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. A different view is expressed by most characters, and issues of the time are brought regarding marriage. To being with the first view of marriage is expressed by Algernon. ‘Is marriage as demoralising as that?’ What Algernon could be suggesting by saying this is that Algernon, believing he is a man about town, that marriage is a drag or a tie, and that Lane is being caged in by marriage. A different view is then presented by Lane, who was married. ‘I believe it IS very pleasant state, sir.’ This is a contrast to Algernon’s view as Lane believes that marriage is not demoralising, as Algernon put it, but more of a meaningful relationship...
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