The Importance of Being Earnest and the Victorian Era

The Importance of Being Earnest and the Victorian Era -...

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Manuel Vazquez 3/7/11 English 12-1 The Importance of Being Earnest and the Victorian Era Oscar Wilde (1854 1900) was a comedic genius of the Victorian Era, and his masterpiece was undoubtedly the short play The Importance of Being Earnest . In this book, we see his criticism of upper Victorian society’s standards and values. Unlike most plays at the time, however, it did not tackle any one of the more pressing social or political issues of the time, nor did it tackle them with any seriousness, as was the standard; nevertheless, although it did not address issues of the lower classes, it did address social issues that he found in higher-tier society. The Importance of Being Earnest , thus, is a typical Victorian drama due to its social critique, albeit with the eccentricities of being a comedy. The play deals with the life and moral values of the “dandies,” rich gentlemen who did not work and lived to have fun Jack and Algernon. Wilde portrays them as being deceitful and frivolous, and proud of being so. Not only that, the whole play is filled with characters who are members of the upper class who at every turn say things and profess values which confound the audience and slap normal values across the face. The play criticizes the apparent firmness of the upper class’s values
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