The Importance Of Being Earnest Class Conflict Analysis

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The Victorian Era in the British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 until her death in 1901. This era was known for having a class conflict. People were either extremely poor or filthy rich. Many writers in the Victorian period used literature to voice their opinions about the class system, one of whom was Oscar Wilde. He used his comedy play “The Importance of Being Earnest” to discuss serious matters about the class conflict in the Victorian period in a humorous way. In this essay I’m going to be discussing the representation of class in The Importance of Being Earnest and relating it to the class conflict in the Victorian period.
The Importance of Being Earnest’s plot revolves around two couples who must go through
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In the social pyramid, the upper class was at the top. That entails giving them political and economic powers. Next in the Victorian social pyramid was the middle class, which was in the beginning of the Victorian period almost nonexistent. The middle class consisted of people who worked and had financial stability, but had no political nor economic powers. At the bottom of the pyramid was the working class, the working class was the most affected by the Victorian class system, the lack of money resulted in extreme poverty.
In his play “The Importance of Being Earnest”, Oscar Wilde uses the interaction between his characters as a representation of the interaction among the classes, confronting the stereotypes of the social classes in a comical way. When discussing the class conflict in the Victorian period, writers tend to use characters of the lower class, however, Oscar Wilde used his characters of the upper class because it was the class he was most familiar
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Wilde used him as a representation of the typical Victorian values. He is a serious, responsible guardian to Cecily. “When one is placed in the position of guardian, one has to adopt a very high moral tone on all subjects. It’s one’s duty to do so” (Wilde 301). However, Jack pretends to have an irresponsible bother in the name of Earnest. He uses Ernest, his alter-ego, as an excuse and as a disguise to keep his honorable image intact. John is the perfect representation of the upper Victorian society that hides behind the façade of morals and values. Additionally, using the name “earnest” which was a Victorian ideal for deception was a sarcastic way for Wilde to further criticize the Victorian’s principles. In the play, the characters are more concerned with the name Ernest than of actually being

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