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
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It is no wonder why this play enraged the upper class, the scene in which Earnest proposes to Gwendolyn portrays a reversal of Victorian assumptions about gender roles. Once the proposal is done and Gwendolyn of course agrees, Lady Bracknell appears, interrupting the event and interviews Earnest to see if he can be a suitor for Gwendolyn. Wilde uses Lady Bracknell's interview of Earnest to make fun of the values of London society, which put a higher premium on social connections than on character or goodness. What is astonishing to the reader is the questions that Lady Bracknell asks Earnest, the first if Earnest smokes or not, stating that "[She] is glad to hear (that Earnest smokes)," and states her views about smoking as that "A man should always have an occupation" (132). Though Lady Bracknell's appearance seems to the reader that she is the strangest character in the play, Wilde then switches the play to the country, which introduces Jack, who is Earnest in the city and Algernon, who takes on the name Earnest. Established during the conversation between Jack/Earnest and Algernon, Algernon is against marriage. However, once Algernon sneaks to the country home of Jack and encounters "the young and beautiful Cecily," his views on marriage suddenly change. Algernon takes the name Earnest to please Cecily, who assumes that Algernon is Jack's cousin Earnest. An