The Importance of Being Earnest and Bracknell Oscar Wilde Essay

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Zaunbrecher 1
Claudia Zaunbrecher

Helaine Razovsky

ENGL 2110

31 March 2012

Lady Bracknell Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest depicts a play written during the Victorian age full of social status, wealth, and power. Lady Bracknell is not the main character in this play, but she does indeed play a major role with her interesting and harsh behavior towards the other characters. Marriage and social status are highly focused on by her character, and the audience seems to stereotype her as a typical Victorian Aristocrat, but she is memorable for her humor and satire. Lady Bracknell is the mother of Gwendolen Fairfax and the Aunt of Algernon Monerieff, and her main goal in The Importance of Being Earnest is to make her opinions known, and earn respect from everyone. She only wants the best for her daughter Gwendolen, and is very controlling when it comes to her love life. Lady Bracknell was not always a part of the upper class, however as a social climber she married into wealth. For example, she says “When I married Lord Bracknell I had no fortune of any kind. But I never dreamed for a moment of allowing that to stand in my way” (Wilde 303). She strongly insists that Gwendolen is well-taken care of and discriminates those who are not in her social class. When Jack proposes to Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell overhears and quickly Zaunbrecher 2 refuses the proposal and says, “An engagement should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be. It is hardly a matter that she could be allowed to arrange for herself...” (Wilde 298). It appears to the reader as though Lady Bracknell is not even concerned about whether her daughter is happy or even in love with Jack, but more concerned with public image. During this time period, authority and power are always first. Lady Bracknell’s authority is shown here and is the main conflict in the play. Gwendolen becomes upset because she is not allowed to make these decisions herself, but it is understood that what her mother says is all that matters. This conflict between the three characters: Lady Bracknell, Jack, and Gwendolen is what makes Oscar Wilde’s work so satirical and entertaining for the audience. Lady Bracknell also shows how her character is different than the other carefree characters through her attitude, and even arrogance. The way that she speaks is literally so planned and well-thought, one could presume that she was never a part of the lower or middle class of people. The humor of Lady Bracknell is not necessarily her making jokes or