Skip Nav

The Importance of Being Earnest

Navigate Guide

❶In fact, the title of the play alone gives the reader some inclination as to what the story is about; the importance of being serious and resolute, which not coincidentally are two of the most important Victorian ideals.

The Importance of Being Earnest Essay

Logging out…
Critical Evaluation
by Oscar Wilde

Men make the political decisions for their families and were the breadwinners, whilst women worked around the house and took care of the children. Men were valued for their intellect and judgment, while women were seen to be attractive to men for their beauty and chastity which is known as aesthetics. However, Wilde raises interesting questions about gender roles in The Importance of Being Earnest, by putting women like Lady Bracknell in positions of power for example she is in charge of finding a suitable spouse for Cecily and by showing that men i.

Lady Bracknell has usurped the traditionally masculinity role of dominating the household and granting permission for Gwendolen to marry Algernon. Wilde shows that Gwendolen, despite being from an aristocratic family who are wealthy enough to ensure Gwendolen to be admired and desired by all types of males despite how she looks, still earns for attention from Jack.

They are quite, quite, blue. It is also telling that Gwendolen wants men to look at her in a desirous way, as if she specifically needs the male gender to validate her. Each woman in the play represents different women in society. There are three women representatives of the upper class, and each has been portrayed in a satiri-cal manner.

Cecily on the other hand is another representative of the upper-class and is indeed a better specimen than Gwendolen. She provides humour to the audience by her absurd behaviour. She keeps a diary and writes down every compliment and praise she receives from Jack. Her domineering nature appears al-so in the manner in which she has control over her daughter and her own husband to the point where she completely controls who she has to marry.

By examining the different definitions of earnestness, the writer will offer an argument about what the author defined as earnest and why he believed this quality was important. Interestingly, he creates an alter ego for himself, a character whom he calls Ernest, an obvious play on words that emphasizes the meaning of the title, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Ernest is everything that Jack is not: Over the course of the play, the tension of embodying two disparate personalities becomes unbearable, but the more Jack tries to be earnest and less Ernest, the more complicated his relationships become.

Ultimately, he learns that he is Ernest, a change of name that also suggests a change of identity. When this information is revealed, it seems that Jack can finally embrace who he is: The male and female characters in The Importance of Being Earnest all fulfill Victorian gender stereotypes. Jack in the guise of Ernest and Algernon are Victorian dandies, bachelors who indulge freely in the good life. Gwendolen is the very paragon of Victorian femininity, and is so superficial that she declares she refuses to marry a man whose name is not Ernest.

In this essay, the rigidity of gender roles, both for men and for women, and examined, and the effect of the inflexibility of these roles is analyzed. In many respects, Jack is a thoroughly likeable character. Both men pretend to be named Ernest in order to impress Gwendolyn and Cecily obviously another pun on the title of the play. Likewise, Cecily, while not as well educated, is steadfast in what she wants from Algernon, such as her insistence that his name be Ernest.

Gwendolyn and Cecily create much of the comedic elements of the play through their relentless demands of Jack and Algernon. There is a sense of old society versus new society whenever Jack, Algernon, Gwendolyn, and Cecily interact with the older characters. To Lady Bracknell, marriage has nothing to do with love and affection, but rather solely relies on the respectable social image that is created.

Lady Bracknell is the stereotypical Victorian woman whose utmost concern is outward appearances and societal impressions. Money, status, and manners are the only necessities in life, without which one is destined to become associated with the detestable lower classes.

These revelations about Miss Prism blatantly contrast with Victorian acceptability. This is yet another way in which Wilde portrays modern relationships and love. With his depictions of Bracknell and Miss Prism, Wilde creates an obvious paradigm between what a proper woman should be. Through their characters he is mocking the Victorian standard for woman because the audience can see that Gwendolyn and Cecily are truly the better women in thought and action.

It still has the classic elements of a story line of that period: Although a majority of the characters live entirely for pleasure, the audience can still relate and enjoy the play.

Client testimonials

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The Importance of Being Earnest essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of .

Privacy FAQs

The Importance of Being Earnest, in particular, was immensely popular, its run cut short only by the real-life scandal that overtook the playwright. The man who exposed secrets so subtly in his.

About Our Ads

The Importance of Being Earnest is a trivial comedy for serious people written by Oscar Wilde and set in late Victorian London. The comedy is made purposely to criticise the aristocratic. The play’s crucial themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the satire of the Victorian system and their strong beliefs at . The Importance of Being Earnest focuses on two main couples, Jack and Gwendolen and Algernon and Cecily. Both Gwendolen and Cecily yearn to have a husband called "Ernest." They both place emphasis on such a trivial matter as a name.

Cookie Info

Marriage in The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest is a play by Oscar Wilde. Oscar describes his play as A Trivia comedy for serious people. The protagonists in the play maintains being fictitious in . The Importance of Being Earnest Essay. BACK; NEXT ; Writer’s block can be painful, but we’ll help get you over the hump and build a great outline for your paper.