Paradoxes In The Importance Of Being Earnest

1064 Words 5 Pages
In the Victorian period men and women’s roles sharpened and became better defined. Gender relationships and stereotypes characterize a society which sees eccessive hypocrisy and social expectations. Oscar Wilde, in “The Importance of Being Earnest”, makes use of a simple and spontaneous writing style, associated with a refined and prone approach in the depiction of reality. In his play, Wilde continuously uses aphorisms and paradoxes to invite the reader to reflect upon the drastic change in time. Performing Wilde’s play portrayed all of the meaningless rules set by queen Victoria which became relevant in the reflection of the social status: emphasis was put on the fickleness showing the emptiness and the superficiality of the individuals of …show more content…
The selected act illustrates the strong stereotypical female figure of the nineteenth hundreds. The character of Gwendoline, in fact, plays the role of an aristocratic woman who belongs to the upper class. The courteous manners and first impressions have a priceless value to her. Gwendoline has a false and at the same time shrewd attitude since the very beginning of the scene. In fact, when the two women meet for the first time, Wilde describes Gwendoline’s reaction using words and tones which have a strong positive connotation. The woman uses kind and sweet expressions rich in superficiality: ”Cecily Cardew? What a very sweet name! Something tells me that we are going to be great friends. I like you already more than I can say. My first impressions of people are never wrong.” The audience notices since the very beginning the falsehood with which the two women turn to each other, and, although he’s denouncing a tragic social condition, through the use of irony and humor Wilde makes the scene look like a comedy: Gwendoline refers to Cecily as if they had known each other for a long period of time, and acts as if she valued their friendship more than anything else: "It would have been terrible if any cloud had come across a friendship like ours, would it not?". The superficiality of the two women, however, is soon unmasked by the hypocrisy expressed through the continuous contradictory behavior …show more content…
Gwendoline, in fact, has a completely different attitude towards Cecily when she’s questioned about the truth behind her marriage with Earnest (who’s real name is Jack). In order to emphasize the contrast which emerges between the upper class and the middle class Gwendoline makes use of a satirical and ironic tone. She replies sharply to Cecily’s continuous

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