To what degree is the play’s satire still relevant?In other words, does the hypocrisy made fun of in the play still exist today, in the 21st century?

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katemschultz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The satire Wilde presents in his play seem all too relevant to society today.  Wilde pokes fun at the morals of the upper class.  While it's true that there are many philanthropic millionaire and billionaire, we are more drawn to the upper class (celebrities) behaving badly--it's more fun to watch that and gossip about that.

The other social institution that receives a great deal of satire from Wilde is marriage.  He insists that people get married for the wrong reasons--for show and social gain, more than anything.  Though those might not be the reasons people get married today, marriage is a failing institution with the divorce rate near 50%.  Wilde views of marriage being view under the incorrect lense--perhaps people aren't thinking it through or are doing it because they feel they have to--is still relevant today.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wilde has made us laugh for over 150 years, precisely because his universal message is clear: The masques men wear bring out their true identity.

In this play, the universality of the masque is the elitism and hypocrisy of society, which allows the reader to read between the line and see the true make up of each character.

Those same situations happen in the 21st century: False images, elitism, marriage for all the wrong reasons, interest in money and financial belongings rather than the true nature of character.

momal | Student

well oscar wilde gave a very true description of the people of the society and his satires are very relevent even for the society we live now a days as well.. people were materialistic , greedy , selfish, mean and then at the same time pretended to look good , so wilde did a work of disclosing the true reality of the victorian society...If we look around there are many people who care for the appearences rather than the spiritualistic qualities one has.. Society is still suffering from the money loving disease , they have money but try to get more and more and at the same time people of the same society dont have food to eat... Widle i think was a predictor as well as the satire matches our society as well hahha .. i like this play because of its realisic approach ..Then as far as marriages are concerned ,we are still not taking it s a serious issue , specially in my country they call it santenced to death or a death warrant... Then still people who are fail to do anything for others ask others to set examples as Algy says to lane to set an example for marriages...In short wilde has been quite satirical and i think to some extent which is good because the people will read it as percieve something out of it and i hope they learn something and will try to be realistic in life as life is not a bed of roses ...

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The Importance of Being Earnest

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