Food as an Important Symbol in the Importance of Being Earnest

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Answer 3: Food plays an important part in any situation; it can make or break the problems. In the Importance of Being Earnest, food plays a very vital role in helping create movement in the plot. The play, importance of being earnest by Oscar Wilde uses food as an essential motif /symbol of an act of working out problems. Set in the Victorian era the tea time custom is vastly a part of the play.
From the very beginning where Algernon is questioned about the “cucumber sandwiches” he claims “I believe it is customary in good society to take some slight refreshment at five o’ clock.”This custom that became increasingly popular in Victorian England was the tradition of taking afternoon tea. This practice was displayed predominately by the
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The fight for food amongst the two lead roles could symbolize their want for similar things that may not be food, but it being the Victorian era they are not saying it out loudly but are expressing their views in other matters. (Metaphorizing each situation). It is very pathetic of the characters as they live in aristocracy and are expected not to have food problems; this also shows their lavish greedy nature. Further it reflects on their insecure positions. Every time the scene of tea time is portrayed, a conflict occurs. For example when Gwendolyn and Cecily come to know of their marital status, conflict occurs over them being engaged to the same man.
The theme of honorable vengeance is seen when Cecily ignores Gwendolyn’s requests about tea and bread and butter. By putting four cubes of sugar even after Gwendolyn refuses sugar, Cecily is displaying her anger and want for vengeance. This adds to the aforementioned point about how style and expectations of society dictate every action and feeling by the characters.
Gwendolyn is characterized as someone who believes fashion comes before morals and everything one does should be fashionable, no matter what their class is. ‘Cake is rarely seen in the best houses nowadays.’ Gwendolyn shows
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