You are on page 1of 2

Stage 2: English Communications

Importance of Being Earnest


Oscar Wilde, the author of the play, The Importance of Being Earnest, has used set, properties and
interactions between characters to show the theme of society and class. His use of satire throughout
the play specifically helped in highlighting his point of view onf the society at the time. Theis
satirical attitude in the play tells the audience that Wilde thought the socially acceptable
mannerisms were absurd, and can be especially noticeable through the interactions between
characters. This last sentence needs some work.
Oscar Wilde has usesd the setting of his play to emphasise show the class of each characters, which
inturn reflects the society of the time. The setting is often discussed throughout the play, especially
when the characters from the city refer to the country. When Gwendolen arrives in the country, she
states that she had no idea that there were any flowers in the country, which shows that she does
not think highly of the people in the country. Generally those characters that visit Jacks house see
the country as inferior to their city life and look down on Jack for to choosing live there. Lady
Bracknell is also very derogatory towards Jack when she finds out that his town house is on the
unfashionable side of the square, but says that it could easily be altered. This again
demonstrates shows which characters think highly of themselves, which inturn allows Wilde to
display explores the idea of class and society within The Importance of Being Earnest.
Properties have been used in The Importance of Being Earnest to show the theme of class and
society. Food is a recurring property, which is used throughout the play to help show the class of
certain characters, such as when Cecily asks Gwendolen if she would prefer cake or bread and
butter. You are missing words here you need to explore Gwendolens response to the cake to
which Cecily irritably gives her a large slice of cake in response. Gwendolens attempt of out
classing Cecily shows that she thinks higher of herself than Cecily, who is not only supposedly of a
lower class because she is from the country, but also because she has served cake. Cucumber
sandwiches are another prop that show the theme of society and class of the time. When Jack
reaches to take a cucumber sandwich at Algernons house, Algernon stops him immediately, saying
that they were for his Aunt and instead he must eat the bread and butter, which Jack willingly
accepts. This shows that Algernon thinks that his Aunt and himself are of a higher class than Jack.
You may wish to also include something about the fact Jack has no issues with accepting the bread
and butter. The theme of society and class is also shown when Algernon ignorantly eats all of the
cucumber sandwiches, which he wouldn't would not let Jack eat and Lane is forced to take the
blame for their absence when Lady Bracknell asks where they are. Lane uses the excuse that there
were no cucumbers at the market that morning, not even for ready money. Both Algernon and
Lady Bracknell accept this excuse and Lane is sent away. Class is very prominent in this section of
dialogue as Algernon should be taking the blame, but instead calls in his butler, who he thinks less
of, to cover for him. Wildes use of properties, especially food, helps show the theme of society and
class throughout the play.
The interaction between characters throughout The Importance of Being Earnest is another
technique through which Wilde has shown the theme of society and class. Wildes characterisation
and use of dialogue for of Lady Bracknell is predominantly based around her superiority and
specifically shows the theme of society and class. This overall supremacy is seen when Jack asks to
marry Gwendolen, to which Lady Bracknell seems to approve of until he tells her that he was found
in a train station and did not have any parents. Lady Bracknell immediately disapproves, as she will
not allow her daughter to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel. This shows
that she thinks too highly of herself and her family to let her daughter marry someone of less
importance than herself. Wilde has also used satire in Lady Bracknells interactions with characters
to highlight the theme of society. Firstly, Lady Bracknells dominance is satirical to the Victorian
gender roles, where the male figure is always dominant, as she is the parent who tells her child who
she can or cannot marry. Secondly, she is satirical upon her own word when she tells Cecily that

Stage 2: English Communications


Importance of Being Earnest
she does not approve of mercenary marriages, but then changes her mind and allows Algernon to
marry Cecily immediately after finding out that she has her own fortune. The satire draws attention
to the hierarchy of characters and shows that, Lady Bracknell especially, thinks she is of high
enough class to control the other characters. However, the audience knows that she was not always
of such high class as she tells Cecily that, when [she] married Lord Bracknell [she] had no fortune
of any kind, showing that her superiority has come from wealth, which was a very dominant
element of the society at the time the play was written. You need to work on this sentence as it is
too long, and runs on split it into two sentences. These interactions between characters,
particularly Lady Bracknell, further highlight the theme of society and class with Wildes play.
Set, properties and interactions between characters have been successfully used by Oscar Wilde, the
author of The Importance of Being Earnest, to emphasise the theme of society and class. The use of
satire intertwined with these techniques also highlighted the society of the time and Wildes
opinions of it. You could work on this, making it longer and summarising what you talked about
more.
This is a very good draft. It clearly demonstrates your understanding of the play and its major
themes, and you have chosen good evidence and techniques to back up your claims. Remember to
never use contractions within your formal writing, and when you write your introductions and
conclusions, always try to make it so someone could read just those two parts and understand what
your essay was about and what arguments you made. You have integrated you quotes very well,
making sure they flow with the rest of your sentence, and I am glad to see you remembered to put
the plays title in italics. A good rule of thumb is to always have three pieces of evidence and three
arguments within a paragraph, because it shows the reader that you know what you are talking
about. I always like to read my work out loud before handing anything up, because I find it helps
me catch any little mistakes that I did not pick up on when I was reading in my head: this technique
might help you fix the few tiny errors throughout this draft.
Overall, a very polished draft.