The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Frugal: Oscar Wilde’s Condemnation of Upper Class Society College

Honesty is an important trait that is conveyed throughout society. It is the foundation for a long-lasting and meaningful relationship, and it is expected to be practiced in almost every social interaction. Much like today, the Victorian Era valued honestly and upheld the idea of being earnest. Oscar Wilde’s novel The Importance of Being Earnest, is set in London, England, during the Victorian Era. During this period, Wilde found hypocrisy of the morals that were so greatly valued by the upper class and decided to write a commentary on the prejudiced class based society. To do so, Wilde utilizes epigrams, satire, and irony to highlight and ridicule the cultural norms of aristocratic society and marriage during the Victorian Era.

Wilde employs epigrams to to satirize upper Victorian society. The epigrams he used were for comic relief and to ridicule ideas on marriage and morality. In act one, Jack responds to a negative claim made on marriage from Algy by saying “[t]he Divorce Court was specially invented for people whose memories are so curiously constituted” (Wilde 9). Wilde is commenting on his belief that all marriages are doomed for failure. He is also acknowledging the ridiculous wedding laws that were set in place during...

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