Essay about The Importance of Being Earnest- Women

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English Literature Coursework Louise Adams
‘In dramatic comedy women are typically presented in a less favourable way than men.’ To what extent do you agree with this view in relation to ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’?
In Victorian society, the male role would be to rule, protect and provide for his family. Men were always making the political decisions and women had the job of wife, mother and domestic manager. When married, it was men who owned all properties of the women, and she must be faithful to her husband. Divorce led to shame only on females and loss of the right to see their children. In this patriarchal society, men were clearly dominant over women, however, this is not entirely the case in ‘The Importance of Being
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It implies that Jack finds Lady Bracknell’s approval to be of high importance and that saying the right thing to please her is crucial. Lady Bracknell has masculine power, whereas Jack appears comparatively effeminate, creating part of the play’s social satire. Wilde uses this satire to attack the Victorian society and its moral values. The comedic view on this situation is not only the way Lady Bracknell overpowers Jack, but also the way Jack treats this role reversal as totally natural, as if women in Victorian society would actually act in that way.
Another way that Wilde presents women less favourable than men is through deception. The character of Lord Bracknell never actually appears in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ so takes no part in the decisions made by Lady Bracknell. The reasoning for her husband’s absence is revealed in Act 3 of the play when she says he was under the impression that Gwendolen was attending a lecture by the “University Extension Scheme on the Influence of a permanent income on Thought.” She then claims later on “I have never undeceived him on any question”, which is quite obviously untrue being that Gwendolen is actually in the country and not at a lecture. This contrasts with the Victorian sex society and how deception often occurred within a marriage. Married men of the upper class were deceiving as most kept a mistress, hidden out of site from the wife. Married women however, because of