Essay On "The Importance Of Being Earnest

1452 words - 6 pages

In Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet can not marry with each other in the world due to family enmity. Then they give up their wealth, family names and lives in order to stay together. In other words, family names and family backgrounds become the barriers that stop the lovers from marrying with each other. While in Victorian society, people see names and family backgrounds as the necessary requirements of marriage. By describing a comedy happens in Jack’s family, Oscar Wilder satirizes that in Victorian society, since women lack education, their point of view of marriage is materialism which contains both money and family background.In Victorian society, ...view middle of the document...

In order to get good lives, mothers allow their daughters marrying with rich noble men only. For instance, before Lady Bracknell permits engagement between Jack and her daughter Gwedolen, she asks Jack his personal details. Initially, she is satisfied with Jack’s occupation, age, and seven to eight thousand annual incomes, but later when she asks Jack’s family history, “Who was your father? He was evidently a man of some wealth. Was he born in what the Radical papers call the purple of commerce, or did he rise from the ranks of the aristocracy” (Importance, Act1, 480-483), Jack’s answer disappoints her, because originally Lady Bracknell wants Jack has a aristocratic birth; then she can allow her daughter to marry with a man who gets both lots of money and aristocratic family background. However, the truth of Jack is orphan makes Lady Bracknell reject Jack’s proposal uncompromisingly.In contrast, Lady Bracknell’s attitude to Cecily’s marriage is totally different from that to Jack, and the dialogue about Cecily’s personal details between her and Jack is also an irony to satirize materialistic marriage. As Lady Bracknell knows that Algernon is engaged to marry with Cecily, she laughs at Cecily, “Is Miss Cardew at all connected with any of the larger railway stations in London” (3,111)? She looks down on Cecily because she thinks this lady’s family background is same as her uncle Jack who is “born” in railway station in London. Although later Jack makes Lady Bracknell satisfies with Cecily’s family background by defining that Cecily is grand-daughter of the late Mr Thomas Cardew and her family solicitors are famous “in their profession” (3, 131), Lady Bracknell still snubs Cecily and thinks Cecily is not rich since Cecily lives in country, and usually a rich lady with good family background lives in city. However, what ionic is as Lady Bracknell is going to leave, the information that Cecily owns a hundred and thirty thousand pounds in funds makes her sits down again, and she admires, “ Miss Cardew seems to me a most attractive young lady…Cecily, you can kiss me” (3, 146 and 177). Obviously, Lady Brackneel’s attitude to Cecily changes 360 degree, and now she “loves” Cecily so much. Also, she agrees the marriage between Cecily and her nephew Algernon immediately, because Cecily is rich and has good family background. Therefore, by comparing with Lady Bracknell’s different attitude to Cecily before and after she knows Cecily is rich and has good family background, it is clear to see that mothers in Victorian society thinks their daughters should be engaged to marriage with people who is both rich and aristocratic.Not only their mothers, but also young ladies themselves look for a materialize marriage. For example, in Act 3, although Gwendolen and Cecily have forgiven Jack and Algernon’s disloyalty to them,...

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