The Imortance of Being Earnest

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What does The Importance of Being Earnest reveal about the upper classes Victorian society? The importance of being Earnest reveals numerous traits that the upper classes Victorian society embodies. However, this essay will only focus on and account for the exposure of certain traits. Namely, the moral laxity that is conveyed through the appalling ideas and views on love and marriage (Hozra,2012:1), the wilful obtuseness among the society and the immense hypocrisy and immorality that is evident through the way in which woman are seen and treated, and through the living of double lives. One of the ways the moral laxity among this class is conveyed is through the appalling contra ideas and views on love and marriage the play exudes. Oscar Wilde uses the characters, Gwendolyn Fairfax and Cecily Cardew, to bring forward the superficial and artificial ideas and behaviours pertaining to love. Both, Gwendolyn and Cecily are overly concerned and preoccupied with the name ‘Ernest’. This is evident in their belief that a man truly worth loving, is a man who goes by the name of Ernest and therefore, using one’s name as a measure of judgement and worth (Aires,2010:123). The above mentioned characters, reveal the inverse ideas and behaviours individually as well; Gwendolyn displays the superficial nature of this class in Act 1, where she is stressing the significance of her romantic interest, Jack Worthing, being a man with the name of ‘Ernest’ (Wilde,1994:17-18). Cecily displays the artificial behaviour, by declaring an engagement to the non-existing Ernest, who to her knowledge, has not even met yet. However, the importance of marriage is not seen as a derivative of love. This class’s reality of marriage, is that marriage is a business agreement and marriage that is indeed a product of love, is merely literature (Aires,2010:122). Their reality of marriage is portrayed in Act 1, pages 20-23. This is when Lady Bracknell feels that it is crucial for her to interview Jack...
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