Oscar Wilde uses his play, The Importance of Being Earnest, as a way of showing how ridiculous the Victorian era's views were, especially its views on marriage. In his play, Wilde shows how the Victorian Era aristocracy seemed to think that marriage should involve social status and wealth rather then happiness and love. Oscar Wilde conveys this idiocy through wit and satire given in the lines of the characters.
Oscar Wilde has two male characters in his play that want to change their names to Ernest in order to obtain the love of two ladies. The men are so concerned with being Earnest that they will go to any lengths to get it, even changing their names through a possible christening. Wilde uses this word earnest to poke fun at Victorian society. He shows how Victorians are so concerned with social standards, and keeping to that standard, that they will act in a heartless manner that isn't earnest.
Wilde shows how an aristocrat's look on marriage is more business oriented then it is love oriented. He gives a number of examples to this, for instance, "Lady_Bracknell. . . And now I have a few questions to put to you, Mr. Worthing. [Sitting down] You can take a seat, Mr. Worthing.[Looks in her pocket for notebook and pencil]" Wilde shows how business like marriage was by having Lady Bracknell start her interrogation of Jack by pulling out a note pad and pencil and asking him questions all the way from hobbies to his financial situation. She then turns to "minor matters" and questions Jack about his family. When she learns that he has lost his parents she calls him careless. Lady Bracknell has no sympathy for his situation and refuses to allow a marriage to her daughter because of "minor matters" that may cause some sort of societal back lash.
The women themselves are also preoccupied with collective standards that they couldn't even imagine themselves marrying anyone other then a person named Earnest.