Essay On The Importance Of Being Earnest

Essay On The Importance Of Being Earnest-52
One should have something sensational to read in the train." Wilde seems to be taking to task a social class that thinks only of itself, showing little compassion or sympathy for the trials of those less fortunate.

One should have something sensational to read in the train." Wilde seems to be taking to task a social class that thinks only of itself, showing little compassion or sympathy for the trials of those less fortunate.

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Duty and Respectability The aristocratic Victorians valued duty and respectability above all else.

Earnestness — a determined and serious desire to do the correct thing — was at the top of the code of conduct.

The tea ceremony in Act II is a hilarious example of Wilde's contention that manners and appearance are everything. Both women, thinking they are engaged to the same person, wage a civilized "war" over the tea service while the servants silently watch.

When Gwendolen requests no sugar, Cecily adds four lumps to her cup.

Gwendolen, learning from her mother, is totally self-absorbed and definite about what she wants.

She tells Cecily, "I never travel without my diary.When she hears that Jack's "wicked" brother Ernest is around, she is intensely desirous of meeting him.She says to Algernon, "I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time." The thought of meeting someone who lives outside the bounds of prudery and rules is exciting to naïve Cecily.Popular Culture The popular attitudes of the day about the French, literary criticism, and books are also subjects of Wilde's humor.Wilde wittily asserts that Victorians believe that nothing good comes from France, except for (in Wilde's mind) the occasional lesbian maid.For this reason, Wilde questions whether the more important or serious issues of the day are overlooked in favor of trivial concerns about appearance. Her marriage proposal must be performed correctly, and her brother even practices correct proposals.Gwendolen's aristocratic attitude is "In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing." The trivial is important; the serious is overlooked.They do it so well in the daily papers." Modern books are filled with truths that are never pure or simple, and scandalous books should be read but definitely in secret.Again Wilde criticizes the Victorians for believing that appearance is much more important than truth.Of course, Jack and Algernon could continue to don their masks after they marry Gwendolen and Cecily, but they will have to be cautious and make sure society is looking the other way.Passion and Morality Wilde's contention that a whole world exists separate from Victorian manners and appearances is demonstrated in the girlish musings of Cecily.

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