The Importance of Mockery
Mockery is usually perceived as a negative concept, but if one thinks about the purpose behind it ones impression can change. Mockery can be defined as an imitation, counterfeit, or fake (Dictionary.com). It is like a mirror image of how someone is acting. For example, if someone is complaining and another mocks them, it is to show how annoying and irritating they are being. The mocker is helping the complainer by indirectly telling them they need to change how they are acting. The complainer should accept the correction before they embarrass themselves, if they haven not already. Mockery should not always be scorned upon as a malevolent act, but as a way of help or correction.
In 1 Kings 18 the reader finds Elijah against 450 false prophets who are followers of Baal. Both want to prove that their God is real, so they decided to cut a bull into pieces, lay it on wood, and pray to their God to set it on fire. The one who sets the sacrifice on fire is the true God. The false prophets go first and call on Baal from morning until noon. “And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, ‘cry aloud, for his is god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened’” (1 Kings 18:27). Elijah mocks them so that he could prove who the true God is. He was trying to show them how foolish they were being for calling on a nonexistent god. The purpose of my paper is to argue that Oscar Wilde did not write The Importance of Being Earnest to show the style or manners of Victorian society, but to mock it in order to correct it. I will present two arguments on why Wilde wrote The Importance of Being Earnest as well as give my opinion. In the positive argument I will present three examples on how the book is a farce of the Victorian society.
In “Oscar Wilde’s Great Farce: The Importance of Being Earnest” David Parker believes “moreover, Wilde consciously exploits the concern of farce with human identity.” This means Wilde intentionally made a mockery of the way people identified themselves in the Victorian era. People were so concerned on the way they talked, their social order, their manners, and their style that they forgot about the things in life that really mattered. It seems as though Wilde became so agitated he had to make fun of it so people could see how foolish they were being. Parker believes the whole play is based on defining human identity and Lady Bracknell is a great example of this. She is so concerned with outer appearance that she forgets to check on character and personality. When Lady Bracknell meets Cecily for the first time she is not impressed, but once she finds out Cecily has a lot of money her feelings toward the young girl suddenly change. “The chin a little higher, dear. Style largely depends on the way the chin is worn. They are worn high, just at present” (Wilde 81). This is a farce of how overly concerned people were with their...