The Importance of Being Earnest was written by Oscar Wild. The play represents Wilde’s late Victorian view of marriage, nobility, family, and social life during the time. The Characters in this Victorian setting are portrayed as snobs who are conceited, over proper, formal and overly concerned with money. But they are also concerned with finding the perfect life partner. The women are portrayed as uneducated, sheltered, and some are portrayed as dominating figures over the men in their lives. For Cecily and Gwendolen there is no sense of identity, the one women in the play that stands out the most is Lady Bracknell.
Wilde creates Lady Bracknell to represent society. Her tone is always serious, she is arrogant, and she speaks in commands, judgments, and assertion. She is always serious and fells like she has a sense of authority, being the adult figure in the play; she enforces the rules and authority. Lady Bracknell represented the Victorian age because her life starting out she was not wealthy she grew up in a life of being in the lower class. Now that she is in the upper class she will only except the best of the best and nothing less of it. She bends the rules to please herself because she believes she can. She is strong and ruthless, she believes that marriage is a way to gain your social status. However much of what she says is hypocritical or self-contradictory. Lady Bracknell contradicts herself when she wonders about the possibility of Cecily and Alergon getting married and she does not agree with money-oriented marriages, but she herself married into the same situation. “But I do not approve of mercenary marriages. When I married Lord Bracknell I had no fortune of any kind”. Lady Bracknell is always thinking of money when it comes down to really any circumstance.
In Lady Bracknels eyes if Alergon and Cecily get married, they will share her extreme amount of wealth. “A hundred and thirty thousand pounds! And in funds! Miss Cardew seems to me a most a most attractive young lady, now that I look at her”. She also finds long engagements not acceptable as, They give people opportunity of finding out each other’s personal life before marriage, Lady Bracknell has this idea of making someone look like something that they are not. If you look good, that is what is important. This causes the women in the play such as Cecily and Gwendolen to live sheltered and uneducated lives.
Put Gwendolen as a city girl, while Cecily is a country girl; with that if you look at the play Wilde portrays them as being very similar. Both women lived a life where they never really had an education because they were so sheltered. Both women are far from unintelligent, but they are not well informed with how the world works, and the society they live in. Lady Bracknell shelters Gwendolen. Her mother does not approve of the education in England she says, “Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect what so ever”. Which means she most likely did not send Gwendolen to any of the public education.
Cecily is sheltered as well, but more so for the reason that she lives in the country. And even though education is offered it does not peak her interest. Gwendolen and Cecily are both similar in the way that they are not educated like they should be. But they are different in the way that they don’t have the education they should for two different reasons. Gwendolen’s mom just doesn’t like the way education works and Cecily is just simply not interested in it. Both women had a life with a lot of free time and boredom which gave them more time to think about unrealistic things.
Both Cecily and Gwendolen have both fallen in love with a certain fantasy of life, which was induced by all the free time and utter boredom. Wilde makes a point to show that the women in that day and age imagined more and talked more than they did. It is seen when Cecily wrote in her diary “Today I broke off my engagement with Earnest, I feel it better I do so”, her diary is full of imagination. She let things be dictated by what she imagined rather than what she truly felt. Gwendolen is no different in the fact that she too keeps a diary full of things she imagined.
Cecily and Gwendolen also keep their diaries to record their day to day lives and everything that went on. Even though most of their diaries consisted of imagined things they still believed that what they wrote helped them. They used it to figure out who was really engaged. Cecily and Gwendolen lived a life where they never worked, and they did not go to school, so they were left with a lot of free time and imagination. They both imagined that they had an Earnest in their life and since they have both pictured this they believe no one else will do for them. Which makes them even more similar because they both want the same guy.
Gwendolen and Cecily are different in the way that Gwendolen in a way is more concerned about her appearance. Gwendolen is all about just simply coming off to people as the best. And she believes that if she ends up with Earnest that will ensure that. With Cecily she in a way is innocent but devious she lives in a sort of fantasy. And in this fantasy world she creates this ideal man which is also Earnest. They both live in a world of fantasy by believing that what they think and do is right. But they live in two different fantasy’s, Gwendolen is in a fantasy that revolves around her appearance and how it will make her look. And Cecily is in a fantasy of picturing everything to be perfect and fairytale like.
In The Importance of Being Ernest, Wilde portrays women as being strong especially in Lady Bracknell, who is almost seen as stronger than the men in the play but also dominates the women. Then there is Gwendolen who is the helpless city girl, who has imagined a whole life outside of what she is living and who in a way is selfish. And Cecily who the country girl but similar to Gwendolen in the way that they imagine a whole different life but different in the way that they do also see aspects of life differently. Gwedolen and Cecily lacked an identity but loved the same man for the same reasons.
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