The Absurdity Of The Victorian Upper Class Society

1653 Words7 Pages
Nora Abushaaban
Marietta Reber
November 25, 2016

The Absurdity of the Victorian Upper-Class Society

Sans irony, the title of the play, The Importance of Being Earnest - A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, by Oscar Wilde probably would have been called “The Insignificance of Being Earnest.” This is because throughout the play all the major characters lied and were not the least bit earnest. This comedy is a satire on the mannerisms of the Victorian upper-class society in the late 1800s. As it is a satire, Wilde’s intent was to poke fun at the aristocrats of his time by exaggerating their behavior to criticize how substanceless their lifestyles were. Wilde incorporates various elements of literature including genre, symbolism, and characterization to challenge the Victorian upper class’ arrogant lifestyle.
They key literary device Wilde used to popularize his critique of the Victorian upper-class was genre. As this was a play, the genre would fall under drama. This type of drama was specifically known as a farce: a comedic dramatic work with absurd events. This play was a comedy in the traditional sense because it is a satire with a happy ending, as well is in the modern definition in that it is humorous. “Inseparable from any definition of satire is its corrective purpose, expressed through a critical mode which ridicules or otherwise attacks those conditions needing reformation in the opinion of the satirist” (Harris). In this case the satirist would be Wilde.
Open Document