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“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde

One of the essential characteristics of the play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” written by Oscar Wilde, is the detailed presentation of the Victorian culture in the way it was perceived by the author. In this literary work, he reflected on the upper class and mocked their cultural norms. Wilde believed that they encompassed the ideals of earnestness related to people’s desire to conform strictly to the rules of behavior in society contrasted by their opposite actions when left alone.

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In this way, the main characters, Jack and Algernon, who lead double lives, represent the hypocrisy of the time. This characteristic of the Victorian age was complemented by their attitudes towards the middle or lower-class representatives. Hence, the author viewed the culture of the Victorian aristocracy as arrogance, artificiality, selfishness, and excessive pride stemming from one’s position in society.

In this play, Wilde comments on the differences between social classes in England by reflecting on their views on love and behavior in general. Thus, the perspectives of the upper-class citizens are formed under the influence of cultural norms rather than affection as such. Jack and Algernon prove it by displaying the so-called loveless love. In turn, their women respond similarly by loving them for their names rather than personalities, as in the case of the lower class’ people.

As for conduct distinguishing these population groups, it is shown in the straightforward manner of speaking of aristocrats claiming that living in the country is boring and inappropriate for “anybody who is anybody” (Wilde). Meanwhile, lower-class people act modestly and speak accordingly. Therefore, the reader gains an understanding of Victorian attitudes and, more specifically, the attitudes of the aristocracy through their dialogues in the play and actions indicating insincerity.

Work Cited

Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest. Gutenberg, 1997. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde." July 5, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-importance-of-being-earnest-by-oscar-wilde-essay-examples/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde." July 5, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-importance-of-being-earnest-by-oscar-wilde-essay-examples/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde'. 5 July.

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