Satire Used in Oscar Wilde's Play Trival Play for Serious People

Topics: Social class, Victorian era, Sociology Pages: 3 (1256 words) Published: April 25, 2013

Satire is defined to be the use of humor to ridicule faults and vices. The Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde is a social satire, using irony and paradoxes to insinuate the problems and faults found in the Victorian Society. The play is set in the late Victorian Era during a social reform. The class system was defined by the animosity between classes, the upper class treating the lower class with disdain and disgust. Wilde satirizes the class system, etiquette and disposition that was expected from Victorians. The play seems to be a criticism of society. The play is a light-hearted comedy but also a social satire utilizing this chance to criticize social issues. The Importance of Being Earnest as in Act 1, Wilde must introduce his characters and setting. Both Jack and Algernon are living their living their lives through masks. Algernon is a stylish dandy a young man very concerned about his clothes and appearance in the pose of leisure man about town. Jack is a little more serious than Algernon, perhaps because of his position as a country magistrate and his concern over his unconventional lineage. The action and satire in Act 1 is heightened with the arrival of Lady Bracknell. She is an aristocratic Victorian and Algernon's aunt. Arrogant, opinionated, and conservative Lady Bracknell is the epitome of the Victorian upper class. Wilde uses her to continue his satire of Victorian attitudes about marriage. Marriage is a process of careful selection and planning by parents. Social status, lineage, and wealth combines to make marriage a business proposition that unites power. Lady Bracknell will tell Gwendolen when and to whom she will be engaged, and Gwendolen has nothing to say about it. Lady Bracknell cross- examines Jack, commenting on his wealth and politics. When she hears Jack has "lost" his parents she exclaims at his "carelessness." When Jack is critical of Lady Bracknell,...
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