The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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Satire In The Importance Of Being Earnest

What does Wilde satirize in The Importance of Being Earnest?

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Wilde targets several social institutions for his satire.  One of the most obvious in the play is Wilde's satrical view on marriage.  He does this by giving the girls (Gwendolen and Cecily) silly prerequisites for marriage: only the name Ernest.  Nothing else matters to them, other than the name Ernest.  Lady Bracknell, when inquiring as to Jack's suitability as a potential husband for Gwendolen, asks about his income, his politics and whether his owns land and house--not if he truly cares for her.  Wilde is satirizing marriage, showing these people thing it nothing more than a social adventure rather than a loving union.

Another element of society that Wilde satirizies is the upper class.  All of the characters (except for the butlers) would be considered upper class, and each shows a sense of frivolity toward life and serious issues.  Jack uses his brother's "death" as a way to excuse his Bunburrying; Alergnon seems to take nothing seriously, except eating.  Gwendolen wants...

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