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The importance of being earnest

            The Victorian age produced many different types of writers- some wrote about the lower classes, others discussed new revolutionary ideas- whether in science, mathematics or philosophy. Oscar Wilde was one of the greatest writers during the late nineteenth century. Instead of focusing on the lower classes and social conditions, Wilde chose to ridicule the life of the English aristocracy. This attitude can be clearly seen in his play The Importance of Being Earnest'. In this piece of work, some of the important themes discussed are that of marriage and respectability. .
             Indeed, one can infer that Wilde uses satire when writing about the institution of marriage. Although the play does eventually end on a happy note, it does however give the impression that marriage and respectability are often tied together in destructive ways. This attitude pertains mostly to the aristocracy who look at marriage as a way to achieve social status than as a symbol of love. We can see this through Lady Bracknell, as she initially does not accept Ernest Worthing as her daughter's fiancé because she feels he is not of a certain social status. However, as soon as she finds out how much wealth he has, her attitude immediately changes. Similarly, she accepts cicely on the same basis- at first she is apprehensive in letting Algernon marry cicely but once she finds out about cicely's background and she is satisfied with it (cicely is acceptable for the society) Lady Bracknell agrees to the marriage. We can also infer that marriage was mostly arranged by the parents. Lady Bracknell was astonished to hear that her daughter was engaged; she remarked, girls don't choose whom they marry, you will be informed when a suitable man is chosen for you'. The fact that she uses informed' implies that marriage was not a symbolic emotion. It was a tool used to climb up the social ladder. Instead of coming from the heart, it was decided for the girl on the basis of social status.

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