The Importance of Being Earnest

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Anna Hidrogo
The Importance of Being Earnest: Social Satire

The definition of a satire is a humor that ridicules the faults and bad habits of a society. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is definitely a social satire. Wilde uses figures of speech such as paradoxes and humorous irony to breakdown the faults of the Victorian Era during the time period of the reform. The characters in this play each held a certain quality that added to the satire Wilde wanted describe. He acknowledges many important aspects of the Victorian society such as their class system, etiquette, marriage, and being earnest are customs of the Victorian people. There was a great distinction among the Victorian class system. The upper class was strongly favored. The lower class was frowned upon; they were treated with disgust and animosity. The upper classes were treated favorably because they “knew” what to eat, wear and how to behave. They believe the lower class to be clues on these aspects of society. The complete lower class was seen as a mockery. The difference in education was very small; this did not stop the upper class from believing they were much more educated than the lower class. Lady Bracknell even says that the peasants should remain uneducated. Miss Prim is a prime example of how much more educated the lower class can be. Lady Bracknell did not want anyone of the lower class to contain more knowledge than she. Ironically, Cecily wants nothing to do witch expanding her knowledge, and she is upper class. This quote represents how well-spoken Miss Prim is compared to Cecily as well as Cecily’s lack of excitement to expand her knowledge. “MISS PRIM: Cecily, Cecily! Surely such a utilitarian occupation as the water of flowers is rather Moulton’s duty than yours? Especially at a moment when intellectual pleasures await you. Your German grammar is on the table. Pray open it at fifteen. We will repeat yesterday’s lesson. CECILY: “But I don’t like German”(1749). Such...
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