The Importance of Being Earnest

Good Essays
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

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    "Gertraud Medicus" BOOK REPORT Author: Oscar Wilde Tile: The Importance of Being Earnest Date of publication: 1895 in three acts Type of Work: Comic, farcical play Setting Algeron´s flat in London, and a country house in Hertfordshire, England; in the 1890s Plot outline: Two men, Algernon and John, who are friends meet each other in Algy’s house where John falls in love with Gwendolen, the daughter of Algernon’s Aunt Augusta. John owns a house in the country, where everybody calls…

    • 636 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    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…

    • 771 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar 1 The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Importance of Being Earnest A Trivial Comedy for Serious People Author:…

    • 24391 Words
    • 98 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Importance of Not Being Earnest Oscar Wilde's hilarious play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," is based in Victorian England and follows the story of Mr. Jack Worthing; a lovesick man who lies regarding his identity so he may escape to the city. While his lies start unraveling, chaos breaks out. In the last line of the play, Jack claims that,"he has learned the vital importance of being earnest." This conclusion brings the reader to wonder, does a tiger ever change it's stripes? Does the…

    • 736 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest, the conversations between characters reveal a lot about their relationships and create a language. The relationship of Earnest and Gwendolen is primarily based on a surface characteristic; his name. Gwendolyn is only attracted to Earnest because of his name, because she is so consumed by what others will think. Cecily is portrayed as the wholesome girl in this play who is attracted to the devious and mysterious Algernon. However, their relationship…

    • 2006 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In his play, The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde portrays his beliefs by satirizing the beliefs and values of his society. Within Act I, Algernon states that “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Wilde’s witty epigram projects a major theme within the play. It attacks the perception of fixed truth. The major target of Wilde's scathing social criticism is the hypocrisy that society creates. Often in Victorian society, its participants acted in overly sincere, polite ways while…

    • 506 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Samantha Soto Gilchrist AP English IV 28 October 2012 The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest is a play by Oscar Wilde that can be viewed as a satire on the moral compass of people living in the Victorian era. The moral standards of the time held the ideas of sincerity and honesty on a high pedestal. To be Earnest would most likely fall between the two ideals; the first definition of the word earnest is “Serious in intention, purpose, or effort” and this can be a trait…

    • 1772 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Paper The Importance of Being Earnest This novel, The Importance of Being Earnest, elaborates on the importance of telling the truth. You have two best friends, Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing, who create other people in their life. The plot of the story brings to the forth the concept of being honest. For example, Algernon admits that for him to be seen as polite, he makes up an invalid friend called Bunbury. On the other hand, Jack also comes up with a fake brother called Earnest. The aim…

    • 315 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ A Trivial Comedy For Serious People is a play about two friends Jack Worthing and Algernon (Algy) Moncrieff. In order to get away from their lives the two men invent fictitious characters to explain their absence (Jack invents Earnest while Algy invents Bunbury) from the country in Jack's case and town in Algy's. To complicate matters the two men then fall in love Jack with Gwendolen, Algy’s cousin and Algy with Jacks ward Cecily. Both women believe…

    • 875 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Importance of Being Earnest Social class and public reputation are two of the most common things that influence a person in their decision making. In “The Importance of Being Earnest”, Oscar Wilde mocks a society for their reasons of choosing who to marry. Oscar Wilde expresses an ironic and satiric perspective on a society that builds a marriage upon a foundation of money, power, and deceit. The play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” is one of the most perfect examples of satire in our…

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays