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The Importance Of Being Earnest Is Described As Satire. Satire Implies Criticism Of Society And Social Institutions. Do You Consider This Play Satirical? What Do You Think This Play Criticizes?

848 words - 3 pages

Satire is defined to be the use of humor to ridicule faults and vices. The Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde is a social satire, using irony and paradoxes to insinuate the problems and faults found in the Victorian society. The Importance of Being Earnest is set in the late Victorian Era during a social reform. The class system was defined by the animosity between classes, the upper class treating the lower class with disdain and disgust. The upper class was rigidly controlled by savoir faire, knowing what to eat, wear and how to behave. The Importance of Being Earnest satirizes the class system, etiquette and disposition that was expected from Victorians. Wilde uses irony, humor and characters not only to call attention to the absurdity of the Victorian behavior but also to highlight the ironic humor in the characters shortcomings that reflect the Victorians who were watching it.The Importance of Being Earnest seems to be a criticism of society. The play is a light-hearted comedy but also a social satire utilizing this chance to criticize social issues. The use of irony reveals an inconsistency between the characters words and the truth, suggesting that society is hypocritical. The Importance of Being Earnest reflects the audience it was written for. From the entrance of "Mr. Earnest Worthing," there are constant criticisms between Jack and Algy. Jack criticizes Algy for speaking, "you talk exactly as if you were a dentist." This criticism presents an irony; Jack believes it is "very vulgar," for Algy to present to be someone he is not. This is ironic as Jack is not self critical enough to be aware that by being "Earnest in town and Jack in the country," he himself is presenting a "false impression," and behaving like a hypocrite. The dramatic irony of this is that the laughter incurred from this irony is ironic in itself. The audience can identify the faults in Jack however this laughter suggests that they cannot see the reflection of themselves in this play. This satirizes the Victorian society and their faults. Jack is a representation of society and he implies that society is hypocritical. Jack is presented to be a pretentious hypocrite, living by one set of rules for him but having another for Algy and Cecily, his ward. I see this use of irony and satire as a criticism of the Victorian society but more specifically the delusional self image held by the audience. Wilde uses this technique consistently through out the play to highlight the short comings of the Victorians and...

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