How did Oscar Wilde use epigrams to satirize many aspects of marriage of upper class victorian society in The Importance of Being Earnest?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

He used epigrams for many reasons

1. It was his signature style to express the irony of a situation.

2. He couldn't help himself from using epigrams, in reality.

3. The ideals of marriage were so eschewed back in his days that they did seem like an ironic joke. Women only saw marriage as a way to escalate the social ladder, as a way to give themselves status through a household and a last name, and as a possible way to be a part of the fashionable Victorian London scene.

You can see that in the characters of Gwendolyn and Algernon's cousin, they both use very questionable reasons to marry, and they seem to rush through it as if they were talking about another type of celebration. Like a social event.

The epigrams were  Wilde's way to "innocently" infiltrate the real mentality of the times through a "joke" that had a very specific double entendre.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

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