“This play, while mocking deeply at the tribal customs of the late Victorians, has, at its heart, a wish to point the human race in the right direction: away from fraud, hypocrisy and such indecent preoccupation with material realities.” – Michael Griffith.
Write whether you agree or disagree with the last paragraph in this blog.
Oscar Wilde always leave an aftertaste in his work. He does not just create stories, he creates a mirror for readers to reflect on. “The Importance of Being Earnest” was a masterpiece of satire, parody, over-the-top production of the Victorian society standards, and while I did not approve of the character’s sense of judgement, I strangely saw myself in them.
John Worthing was an educated, self-made man. In today’s society, he would be celebrated and inspire many, but back in Victorian times, he was judged by something he could not change: being abandoned by his birth parents. Found in a handbag at a train station, it is amazing to think how far he had come and achieved. Sadly, none of those factors were considered by Lady Bracknell. An overdramatic creation of Wilde, Lady Bracknell was a strong, strict and powerful woman of the higher class looking down on Worthing’s unfortunate past. When considering him as an option for her daughter, she did not take in consideration whether his love was authentic or not. All she cared about were the materialistic aspects. Honestly, I don’t fully object her point of view. In my opinion, it is important to take in consideration a person’s financial status and wealth. However, that should not be the only determining factor, just an addition to the bigger picture. For Lady Bracknell, it was obvious she was intimidate by the likes of Worthing, educated, independent and powerful. She never believed in education as she saw it as a dangerous tool to overthrow the social hierarchy. In other words, Lady Bracknell was uneducated, and her fragile social status was threatened by Worthing. She dug deep in his past hoping to find a flaw, and when she couldn’t find one, she created one. Worthing could not control his situation of being abandoned, but Lady Bracknell held it against him anyway because it was the only flaw she could cling on to judge him. As for Gwendolyn, naive as she was, the only reason she fell in love with Worthing was because of his name. She fantasized about nothing but his name and only that. You would expect this kind of behavior from a child, not a grown woman of high class. However, there have been times I based my judgment of another individual on depending on their name. We do it without realizing at times. It is uncomfortable to think about, because a person’s name says nothing about them; it’s not even something we earned, it’s given to us by our parents. Therefore, it is ridiculous to define someone by their name, yet we do it everyday. We may laugh at Gwendolyn for her childish reasoning but we are Gwendolyn, however hard it is to accept.
The genius in Wilde’s work is that he made us laugh at the characters that were based on us. We are John Worthing, a man of good character but with a troublesome past. We are Gwendolyn, an immature adult with a child-like sense of judgement. We are also Lady Bracknell, an individual with a strong exterior but filled with insecurities and intimidation. We may like to see that we have evolved as a society, but we cannot deny that there is little change that have been made. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a magnifying glass pointing out the wrongs of our society, with hopes of us realizing our ways and change for the better. Wilde made us look at his creation and to answer an important question: “Is that who we want to be?”