The Importance of Being Earnest Essay

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IOBE What is called good society is usually nothing but a mosaic of polished caricatures.” (Friedrich Schlegel) An upper class society is merely a twisted web of superficial dogma amidst nonsensical wisdoms and outrageously absurd beliefs. Like many satirical plays, The Importance of Being Earnest is deliberately preposterous in nature so as to better ridicule Edwardian social life and cherished ideals. The Importance of Being Earnest is a stinging indictment of upper class British society of the time. The ingenious play mocks the concepts of aristocracy and love in Edwardian society, and addresses the notion of treating all important matters of life with genuine and earnest triviality. Much of the subtle and…show more content…
Ultimately, Lady Bracknell thinks that the most significant thing is financial and social security rather than emotional happiness. In the presence of Mr. Worthing, Lady Bracknell insolently proclaims, “I feel bound to tell you that you are not on my list of eligible young men…” (p.15) Lady Bracknell’s triviality cleverly represents the senseless and ridiculous beliefs embraced by the Edwardian upper class. The Importance of Being Earnest mocks the conventional and hypocritical way that is used to address serious matters such as love. Cecily Cardew is constantly lost in her own reverie and falls madly in love with ‘brother’ Ernest. Cecily’s absurd obsession with a person she has never encountered is justified when she declares, “I always [write letters] three times a week,” and “we have been engaged for the last three months.” (p.38, 39) The play wittily presents the outrageously absurd concept that Gwendolen and Cecily can only love men named ‘Ernest’. Cecily’s and Gwendolen’s insistence that there is something about the name ‘Ernest’ that can “inspire absolute confidence” is deliberately exaggerated so as to better ridicule British society. (p.39) Although humans are named arbitrarily by their parents, Gwendolen insists that names depict the true nature of one’s character. Like everything else in the Edwardian age of ideals, the notion of falling in love is ludicrously thrown out of proportion in order to mock Edwardian social life.
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