The Importance of Being Earnest

Topics: The Importance of Being Earnest, Marriage, Proposal Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: March 4, 2007
The Satire of Earnestness
It was a play that made controversy in the lush mansions of Victorian society. Subtitled "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People," The Importance of Being Earnest jokingly criticized Victorian manners and morals and attacking the society of the rich and luxurious. Oscar Wilde incorporated his own beliefs and ideology into the play by alluding to Victorian society "lets duplicity led to happiness." It is this "happiness" Wilde's play focuses on by concentrating the theme of the play on marriage.

Alluding to marriage, The Importance of Being Earnest begins with the witty and selfish Algernon. It is Algernon who is the amoral bachelor and has not one problem with that because he believes that "divorces are made in heaven" and is utterly against marriage as viewing marriage a waste of time (118). The reasoning for Algernon's views is a stand in for Wilde's own beliefs. The quote on marriage, which there is several from Algernon, is quite entertaining to the reader that is because the reader can see that Algernon's conclusion of marriage is preposterous for that time period. However, in real life, during the twenty-first century, which is well after the Victorian age, the fact that "divorces are made in heaven" is actually quite true by today's standards. Even though Algernon clearly expresses his own views on marriage, Earnest (in the city), who is actually Jack, continues to pursue his plans of proposing to Gwendolyn. The reader is again amused as Earnest attempts to propose to Gwendolyn and Gwendolyn directing Earnest on how to propose. Earnest states "[They] must get married at once" Gwendolyn, who seems surprised, replies to Earnest's declaration be saying "[He] hasn't proposed yet" Gwendolyn then directs Earnest into asking properly "will you marry me." (130). This reveals to the reader the role of reversal, by coaching Earnest into proposing, as if she is proposing to herself. It is no wonder why this play enraged the...
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