'The Importance of Being Earnest': Character Analysis of Lady Bracknell

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Powerful, Pompous and Pontifical According to the Bible, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” There is fine line between loving the money or character of a person. The root of all evil starts when one doesn’t notice the difference. Lady Bracknell, an antagonist in The Importance of being Earnest, is a powerful, pompous and pontifical person who values money more than love and comprehends marriage like business deals in terms of allusions, connections and irony. Lady Bracknell’s character is revealed by allusions throughout the play. One can tell that she is very powerful and pompous from few examples of allusions in the text. Without a doubt, Algernon says “Ah! That must be Aunt Augusta. Only relatives, or creditors, ever ring in that Wagnerian manner.” (I) This means that his aunt, Lady Bracknell or creditors coming to collect tax would ring the bell in such Wagnerian manner, which means to be intense and loud. Lady Bracknell is also called Aunt Augusta and this is referring to Emperor Augustus. One thinks Wilde uses the name Augusta because Lady Bracknell and Augustus have many things in common. They were both cruel, ruthless, and their public moral attitudes were strict. Jack also states that she is like a Gorgon, a female creature described as dreadful, mean, ugly and repulsive. “Her mother is perfectly unbearable. Never met such a Gorgon . . . I don’t really know what a Gorgon is like, but I am quite sure that Lady Bracknell is one. In any case, she is a monster, without being a myth” (I) Wilde uses the idea of Wagnerian manner, Emperor Augustus and a Gorgon to describe the character of Lady Bracknell and furthermore strengthening it.
In addition to allusions, Wilde uses connections to the Victorian upper class negativity and repressive values to illustrate Lady Bracknell’s strong character. Lady Bracknell can be said that she is Wilde’s invention to present his satire on upper class of Victorian Era. Wilde satirizes the hypocrisy and



Cited: Wilde, Oscar. N.p.: n.p., n.d. The Importance of Being Earnest. Project Gutenberg, 29 Aug. 2006. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. .

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