Gender in Arcadia and the Importance of Being Ernest

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Compare and contrast how Wilde and Stoppard portray the women in ‘Arcadia’ and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, in light of the opinion that the sexes compliment each other in ‘Arcadia’ whereas, the women dominate the men in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. The female characters in both ‘Arcadia’ and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ have significant roles and have a certain amount of control in their relationships. However, in ‘the importance of being earnest’ the women dominate the men and exert their power without the male characters knowing it. In 'The Importance of Being Earnest', Jack and Algernon are the main male characters. They have encounters with Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell and Cecily. These characters are rather unusual ladies for the time period, and their behaviour is not what was considered to be of a typical Victorian lady; however they still try to uphold a sophisticated and polite manner. One particular part which shows this very well, is a scene between Cecily and Gwendolen. When the women think they are both engaged to the same man, they use their actions to show their anger and dislike towards each other, rather than words. For example, when Cecily asks Gwendolen if she would like sugar in her tea, Gwendolen replies with ‘No, thank you. Sugar is not fashionable any more’, after hearing this Cecily puts four lumps of sugar into Gwendolen’s tea. This blatant ignoring of a request was not morally right for a lady to do in this era, and Cecily uses it to insult Gwendolen. By doing this, Cecily upholds her civil conduct but still manages to display her resentment for Gwendolen. In contrast to this, in ‘Arcadia’ when Hannah and Chloe are talking about Bernard and Gus, they state how they feel and what they are thinking very clearly through words. ‘I’m just trying to fix you up, Hannah’, Chloe is saying quite plainly that she is trying to get Hannah with Bernard, whereas if this was said in the same time period as 'The Importance of Being...
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