The Importance of Being an Earnest a Satire on Victorian Society and Deception

The Importance of Being an Earnest is a satire on Victorian society and in this era, deception is rampant all over England, As we know that when a society falls down from average morality then it is an alarming situation for a society. In Victorian society, there is very much weakness, shallowness, trivialities etc. Deception is at the top of the moral weakness of  Victorian society. It is said that evil is not so dangerous in itself while evils are considered not as in evil shape then there is a huge problem for society. In the same case we encounter in The Importance of Being an Earnest, the people do not consider a sin or crime deceit of others. Deception starts with Jack when he orders his servant that he should bring a cucumber sandwich for Lady Bracknell because she is very fond of it. The servant brings but before the coming of a lady the sandwich has been eaten by Jack and when she comes into his house and demands her sandwich then he tells a lie and says that sandwiches are not present in the market even in net cash. Actually, it was common in Victorian society, deception was considered just a minor case, not a moral defect.

The Importance of Being an Earnest is a satire on Victorian society and deception because educated persons deceit to people, they create fictional and make fools of people for just their amusement. Even though they show their wrong name before girls so that they may get to them in the shape of their life partners.

We believe very much in religious people because we follow them and consider them as our model or ideal but in this play The Importance of Being an Earnest the clergyman has also indulged in deception and also makes a target of satire of the author. He makes fools of people by using signal sermons on different occasions like he addresses the same sermon on a funeral occasion and this very sermon on baptism.

The importance of being Earnest as a satire on Victorian society

Oscar Wilde created a masterpiece by criticizing contemporary society with the help of the trivial subject matter. He has given a philosophy about the trivial things of society that they should be treated on a high note.

Introduction to the play

Oscar Wilde belongs to the contemporary Victorian society. Victorian society was built on false standards and hollow notions. He uses it to criticize these contemporary hollow standards. He gives the reflection of their life in the play. He has given a description of the upper-class society of the modern era. The upper class was living a life of hollowness. They were living a life of hypocrisy.

Criticize through the subject of love, marriage and name

All the characters in the play contribute to making a whole satirical play. They are pondering to have the name earnest. Algernon and Jack both feel proud of having the name earnest. They both assert that they are the real earnest. They don’t believe in the beauty of the character but rather in having the name earnest. This name contains holiness and beauty according to own notions. They find every moral in the name earnest. They were respected and admired due to their names. The two female characters in the play admire and love them because of their name earnest.

Victorian people give preference to surfaces and appearances

Victorian society has false standards of their living. Cecily and Gwendolen respect the boys on the base of their names not due to their realities and characters. Both girls follow false standards about love and marriage. Oscar Wilde makes fun of these false notions. All the characters in the play seem to live an artificial life. In this way, The Importance of Being Earnest is a Satire on Victorian Society and Deception.

Question on the identity of characters makes the play purely satirical

Oscar Wilde criticized society for its false norms and standards. All the characters in the play embody these false notions. He has given a description of their identity. Jack was disrespected and rejected as a mismatch by the different characters in the play. Lady Bracknell considered him a founding and rejected him. She thought that there is no better information about his parental information. She does not inquire about his education and his abilities. She used to ask him about his family background and his financial status. She gives preference to wealth and money. Victorian ideals were constructed on the base of wealth and money.

Satire through the exchange of dialogues

The characters in the play exchange witty and paradoxical remarks. Through these remarks, he is intended to show their inner hollowness and superficial behaviour. On the surface level, it seems that their remarks are full of beauty and love but inwardly highlight the inner hypocrisy. He uses to exaggerate the manners and situations through their dialogues in the play. He uses to criticize the hollow society through this narration. He has given satirical statements in the play to elevate his subject matter. He has keenly observed that Victorian ideals were based on hollow and false standards. People care about their outward appearances and ponder to elevate their outer level. They don’t care about their characters and norms to live in society.

The play was moulded into a comedy of manners to give it a special satirical touch

Comedy of manners hints to satirize the men and the manners of contemporary society. The comedy of manners uses to satirize and make fun of the behaviour and the norms of society. All the characters in the play act in a special way to make the play satirical. Their values and manners make us laugh at their special situations.

Arrogant nature of the upper class

The Victorian people considered them superior and better than the ordinary men of the society. They were living their life according to their own principles. Lady Bracknell shows arrogant behaviour towards all the characters in the play. She belongs to the upper class of Victorian society and does not consider the value of contemporary men. She uses to suspects the parental identity of Jack and considered him as if he were the founding of the station. She does not want to bring a match with him. She arrogantly asks him about his family background and status in society. She is interested to take control and charge over the life of the other characters. She wants to derive them according to her own desire and will. She takes complete charge of the life of her daughter and tries to find a perfect suit for her in contemporary society. She values the surface and appearances over the inner realities.

Love and marriage was taken as a trivial subject

The characters in the play show hypocritical behaviour in the selection of their partner for marriage. Victorian ladies show tendencies to attract the man whose name is Earnest. For this purpose, Jack adopts the name of Earnest to marry the right urban girl. Jack was leading a double life in London to marry the urban girl. He went to meet his friend Algernon in the town while leading a double life. He met Gwendolen there and she loves the man whose name is Earnest. He introduces himself as the earnest and she was hurriedly inclined towards him. She uses to love and admire him because his name was earnest. They were tied in a relationship just because of his name.

Satire on the Victorian morals and religious attitude

Oscar has highlighted the religious attitude of the Victorian people. He uses to reveal his religious manners in the most satirical manner. Dr Chasuble’s attitude in his sermons was commendable and satirical to the theme of the play. It seems that he himself lacks moral consciousness. He was a priest and uses to repeat the sermons with a little change in them. He accepts before Miss Prism to gain her affection which shows that he lacks in moral conduct and behaviour. So we can analyze that the play is highly satirical about the conduction and manners of Victorian society. They follow the dictates of the fashions in modern Victorian society. In the end, we can say that The Importance of Being Earnest a Satire on Victorian Society and Deception.

>Click here for Classic plays

>Click here for Modern plays

>Click here for all English Literature Articles

>Click here Female characters in Importance of Being Earnest

>Read also summary here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *