Play Review: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar

The play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a play that tells the differences between the manners of the upper class and that of the lower class with irony and satire. As members of high society display a great deal of pride and pretense, feeling that they are inherently entitled to their wealth and higher social position. Which they tend to be very much preoccupied with maintaining the status quo that they quickly squash any signs of revolt. Throughout the play, Wilde highlights the arrogance and hypocrisy of the upper class with jokes and puns, and on the other hand he makes the lower class look more down-to-earth and humble, but also funny, with and good humor.

For example: “Algernon: My dear boy, I love hearing my relations abused. It is the only thing that makes me put up with them at all. Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die” (Wilde 675). In this instance Algernon is showing a sign of dislike towards his family relations because he disliked the British inheritance system functions. In this quote, Algernon is overstressing high society’s greed for money. He would be the beneficiary of his father’s inherit if his older siblings would die.

Again, for the English high society was about maintain a high status quo so being wealthy would guarantee a high status, the richer one was the higher status they hold. Not much difference that today’s society, of course today people are more open and blame each other, the rich blames the poor for being poor and the poor blame everything on the rich for making them feel oppress. Another example of difference in the ERA is the dress code, today there is less conservative individuals than during the late 1800s, women can dress as they desire with minimal limitations depending on their cultural beliefs. Back then they would wear clothes from neck to ankles as dictated by your social status pretty much.