Satire The Importance of Being Earnest

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A Society Satirized in a Wonderful Play “Ignorance is like an exotic fruit…” writes Oscar Wilde as he sets the literary table with a rich display of Victorian satire. “The Importance of Being Earnest is obviously a comic critic of late Victorian value (Schmidt 5). Born in Dublin, Ireland, to affluent parents in 1854, Wilde experienced a social advantage when graduating from Oxford after receiving a scholarship (Moss 179) that gave him more than a taste of indulgent upper class life to ridicule. Wilde shows his characters as if they actually knew that they were in play and making them feel and realize all the absurdities they are saying (Foster 19). Both Jack and Algernon are admired by two young ladies who mistakenly believe the men's names to be Ernest, and who adore the men for this very reason. In relating the story of mix-ups and mistaken identities, the ideals and manners of the Victorian society are satirized in a comedy where the characters "treat all the trivial things of life seriously and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality" (Wilde back cover), in the words of the author himself. Oscar Wilde’s comical scenes often take their source in social satire and non-conformism (Baselga 15). Throughout his play, In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde satirizes education, women, and morality. Oscar Wilde satirizes the British education by using Lady Bracknell. While having a conversation with Jack Worthing, she expresses what she thinks about education: “Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square” (Earnest 62). Lady Bracknell says these
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