Victorian Satire Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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by many as a bond of love. Algernon further goes on to criticize marriage by stating “that in married life, three is a company, two is none.” One critic goes on to say: Wilde satirizes the excess of the elite, but at the same time the ideas proposed by Algernon do not seem so far off. In marriage, one need not look any further than Lady Bracknell to see a situation where three is company and two none: the epigrams delight also because they seem true. This becomes evident as we hear Lady Bracknell tell Algernon that if he choose not to dine with her husband and herself tonight that no dining will happen at all and “your [Algernon's] uncle would have to dine upstairs.” This illustrates that the marriage and feeling between these two is only existent with the company of

three. A satirical idea that is expressed by Algernon and holds true in the life of Lady Bracknell. The idea and discussion of marriage also goes on to continue the satire throughout the play. Lady Bracknell, following her discussion with Ernest, refuses to allow Gwendolen to marry him because of his lack of a parentage. She says that she refuses to allow her “only daughter, a girl brought up with the utmost care, to marry into a cloakroom, and form an alliance with a parcel.” This proves the idea that the wealthier class views marriage not as something for love but instead as something that needs to be “the result of careful selection and planning on the part of parents, based on social respectability and standing… Ultimately, the only thing that matters to Lady

Bracknell is not emotional happiness but rather financial and social security.” (Hawkins) Gwendolen views on the marriage, however, are almost at the same level of absurdity and go on to mirror those of Cecily in a later scene. Gwendolen agrees to marry Ernest because she feels the the name Ernest is one that “inspires absolute confidence.” This allows the reader to question her actual love for the individual against her love for the name. Gwendolen goes on to state that she felt she couldn’t love Ernest say his name be, hypothetically, Jack. This is a further satirization of this institution of marriage. These two examples show Wilde suggesting that, “to deny marriage based on birthright, as Lady Bracknell does, is no less ridiculous than denying marriage based on

one’s name.” These examples are used together to connect the more obvious absurdity to one that was less obvious of the time and overall poke fun at the actions made by this social class. Another satirical theme throughout this play of the brilliant Oscar Wilde is the everchnging view on death. The upper class seems to toy with the idea of death and seems to question the importance of those who may die. Lady Bracknell proves this with her response to Algernon’s need to visit his non-existent friend, “Bunbury” who had recently become ill. When Lady Bracknell heard of this news she stated: …I think it is high time that this Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or to die… I should be obliged that you ask Mr. Bunbury, from me, to be kind enough not

to have a relapse on saturday, for I rely on you to arrange my music for me… This illustrates Lady Bracknell’s views on the idea of death, and her selfishness that seems to characterize that of this social class. Ernest goes on to provide another look on the unimportance or use of death later in the play, when he fakes the death of his own non-existent brother, Ernest, just to change his own name. One critic says that this is yet another example of this social class, “treating death like marriage, with an air of offhand brevity.” Ernest his little concern about the reality of pretending that his brother has died. It is evident the he has no moral problems in faking a death in order to further his own social goals. This is another form of satire in how it criticizes the

upper class take on the idea of death and its similarity to their views on marriage. The final and most obvious satire is linked to the name of the play all together: “The Importance of Being Earnest.” To be earnest is to be serious or to be grave and important. This idea is satirized by the upper classes necessity in doing such. When Wilde wrote this play, he wrote it with the comment being made that the actors that play these characters must do so with the utmost level of earnestness themselves and must be completely oblivious to the satirical humor that they convey to the audience. This further satirizes the different classes by making Wilde’s interpretation of each individual character all the more real and even more so oblivious to their own humor or their own mistakes