Lady Windermere's Fan Analysis

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Oscar Wilde Essay
Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan shows the English society is based on values of social hierarchy and social rank through the repartee between the characters and satire used in the text. The characters reflect their society and display the difference between the position of men and women within English society. Wilde also writes about the change in English society and the response by upper classes to this change.
The women in this play, Lady Windermere and the Duchess of Berwick, represent the roles of women in the higher ranks of English society. The characters reflect the elitist thinking within the upper class. Though the characters prefer being seen as good and noble, they recognize that people of lower classes or those
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Darlington uses satire and witty comments to show the changes in society and the difference between the men in women of England. Darlington is supposedly “far too wicked,” (4-5) and is surrounded by scandals according to the Duchess of Berwick. The scandals and negativity don’t stop Darlington from participating in activities of the upper class since he is a man. If men weren’t offered some room for error in society, Darlington claims that “[he] would never be admitted [to Lady Windermere’s home],” (38). Darlington also tells the women that marriage is starting to be less important in society than it was in the past. He claims that “the wives hold all the honours and invariably lose the odd trick,” (48-49) to show that men aren’t bound to their wives as they once were. Satire is used when Darlington states that ‘life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it,” (61-63) showing that he feels that the serious conversations, as well as people’s views and values, in his society are too trivial to properly understand or discuss a topic as important as life. Darlington shows that men can get away with more in the English upper class than women and that society itself is shifting as the views and standards of the upper class

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