The Well Respected: Lazy and Hypocritical
In The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde uses satirical techniques to criticize different aspects of the ridiculousness of the Victorian Society like marriage, class, education, gender and religion. In the Victorian society the upper class is powerful and respected because they appear to be of high social quality and yet they exude low social quality traits because they are hypocritical and lazy. Through satirical techniques Wilde critiques that the upper class of the Victorian society does not deserve power or respect because they are so low social quality. The upper class is low quality and does not deserve power due to the fact that they are ridiculously hypocritical, which is a trait that is often exhibited by those of low quality. The various upper class characters throughout the text demonstrate hypocriticalness when dealing within social aspects of their life. Cecily, for example, is hypocritical when talking to Lady Bracknell about how she cannot wait for Algernon’s proposal: “I am not punctual myself, I know, but I do like punctuality in others” (101). Wilde uses the technique of reversal to show the hypocriticalness of the upper class through Cecily. This is portrayed through Cecily’s double standard. Normally someone who is not “punctual” would not expect punctuality of others. However because she expects others to do what she can’t or won’t do she reverses the norm. Algernon is ridiculously hypocritical when he is having a conversation with Lane about marriage and class. He remarks, “If the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them” (28). Wilde uses reversal to critic that the upper class is overly hypocritical of social class. By Algernon saying that if lower class does not set a good example that there is no “use of them” he is being hypocritical. Usually in the Victorian society the upper class would be the ones to set a “good” example, not the lower class. By Wilde using...
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