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Satire In The Importance Of Being Earnest Essay Help

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Satire in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy of manners, whereby Oscar Wilde uses satire to ridicule marriage, love and the mentality of the Victorian aristocratic society. It can also be referred to as a satiric comedy. What is a satire and what is Oscar Wilde trying to emphasize by employing it in his play? A satiric comedy ridicules political policies or attacks deviations from social order by making ridiculous, the violators of its standards of morals or manners. Usually, a satiric piece doesn't serve only as a form of criticism, but to correct flaws in the characters or to somehow make them better in the end.

The pun on the word "Earnest" suggests two things; it stands…show more content…

It is simply washing one's clean linen in public.

The Importance of Being Earnest focuses on two main couples, Jack and Gwendolen and Algernon and Cecily. Both Gwendolen and Cecily yearn to have a husband called "Ernest." They both place emphasis on such a trivial matter as a name. When Jack attempts to tell Gwendolen that his name is really "Jack" and not "Ernest" she replies saying, "Jack?... No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. The only really safe name is Ernest." Wilde deliberately uses farce in the play to exaggerate the mind frame of the upper class. It is seen here that Gwendolen loves Jack, but she places greater importance on silly, superficial and trivial matters such as a name, something a person has no control over. Similarly, Cecily also dreams of loving someone called "Ernest." She clearly states to Algernon, "There is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence. I pity any poor married woman whose husband is not called Ernest." Again, Wilde is satirizing the institution of marriage, as it is not based on love, but on more vain superficial criteria. Although in this case there is exaggeration used to satirize the vanity of the aristocrats, Wilde still brings across the point that both Gwendolen and Cecily may have refused to marry the `men of their dreams' if their names weren't `Ernest.'

In Act Three of the play when Cecily asks Algy if he would wait until she was

So many things are satirized in this play!

1. The snobbery, classism, and elitism of Victorian London is exemplified by Lady Bracknell

2. The fake imagery of grandiosity and wealth by living above their means and still hang out with the upper crust is represented with the dandy, Algernon.

3. Marriage, and the reasons to get married. Victorians might have at times married for love, but most marriages were also business transactions such as the...

So many things are satirized in this play!

1. The snobbery, classism, and elitism of Victorian London is exemplified by Lady Bracknell

2. The fake imagery of grandiosity and wealth by living above their means and still hang out with the upper crust is represented with the dandy, Algernon.

3. Marriage, and the reasons to get married. Victorians might have at times married for love, but most marriages were also business transactions such as the one Lady Bracknell tried to conduct between Algy and Cecily- all for the sake of going up in social ranking

4. Snobbery is illustrated when Jack and Ms. Prism in separate ocasions describe how Jack was abandoned in a handbag at a train station. The play QUICKLY mentions that he was left in Victoria Station but in "THE BRIGHTON LINE"- that is, the line that goes to the Posh side- In other words, forget that he was abandoned. The imporance is that he was abandoned "in the Brighton Line"

5. Moralism is mocked with the reasons why women get attracted to men. As Victorians were moralists and always claimed to abide by religious motivations for everything, here are Gwendolyn and Cecily, falling in love with men just because their names are Earnest. 

6. Algy's eating habits are also a mockery of how the upper classes feasted on excess while the slum district of Victorian London in the East End was in one of the worst economical situations in history.

Trust me, there is a WHOLE lot more satire than our posts would fit!

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