How Are the Female Characters in the Importance of Being Earnest Presented and in What Ways Do They Conform to the Victorian Ideal of Passive Women.

Topics: Victorian era, Gender role, The Importance of Being Earnest Pages: 4 (1366 words) Published: May 7, 2013
How are the female characters in The Importance of Being Earnest presented and in what ways do they conform to the Victorian ideal of passive women. Victorian England made a clear division between gender roles of men and women. The life of a conventional Victorian woman was focused on marriage and family in which her upbringing was based on this. Young girls were brought up to perfectly innocent and sexually ignorant. The typical Victorian woman was seen to be weak and passive, she was taught to be obedient to authority and to keep her opinion to herself or not to have an opinion at all. Within the home, a Victorian woman took charge of the household and the education of the children however at the same time she was to provide a place of comfort for her husband. In this period, Oscar Wilder grew up to become one of Britain’s best-known writers. His private life was controversial as he was known for not following the traditional roles. Even though he was married, he preferred to spend time with young students who he was said to have sexual relationships with. He was convicted for homosexuality and spent two years in prison. His play the importance of Being Earnest portrays a critical side to the traditional Victorian gender roles. The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy which shows the typical gender roles of both males and females in Victorian society. The play deals with the falseness of society and the demands laid on men and male dominance in marriage. The woman show unconventional behaviour by being aggressive in their love lives and the men make up alternative identities to escape morality. Through Wilde’s characters and their actions, there is criticism on late Victorian Society. In The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde uses different stereotypical characters but reverses their tradition roles, which makes them unconventional and as a result, establishes a social explanation. Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew are the two female leads in the play....
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about The Importance of Being Earnest- Women
  • The Importance of Being Earnest: Victorian Society Essay
  • How do Victorian attitudes to marriage and respectability underpin the comic elements of the importance of being Earnest? Essay
  • Character Analysis
  • the importance of being earnest Essay
  • The Importance of Being Earnest Essay
  • importance of being earnest Essay
  • The importance of being Earnest Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free