A major theme in this play is love, relationships, marriage. Choose at least two characters and tell me about both their similar and differing views on love and marriage. What's the overall sense you get about Wilde's attitude toward marriage? Do you find this offensive? humorous? realistic? cynical? Point to a few specific points in the text and focus on those as you tell me what you think about this theme in the play (use page numbers and quotes when you refer to these places...).
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I keep hearing your iMac get a notification every time that I post another blog. I am such a great student. Apparently I get productive when I’m sick? Who knew. Anyways! I find if funny that in the beginning of the play that Algernon is so flabbergasted by the idea of Jack marrying Gwendolyn. He can’t imagine why Jack would want to settle down with one woman. He says something along the lines of, if you have a pretty girl: do her. If you have a plain girl: do someone else. Such great advice. Maybe someone should tell nick? Guess I’m plain. Inappropriate? Naaah. But it’s funny to watch how Algernon’s view on marriage instantly changes when he meets the beautiful Cecily. It is as if he just completely forgets his vulgar and crude advice that he gave Jack. Jack, however, seems to keep his same view on marriage. He wants Gwendolyn to be his one and only—his very own love! It seems as if everyone has the same view on marriage in the sense that they all want it. The men seem to want it for slightly less selfish reasons than the women… I mean come one. The women mainly love the men because they are led to believer that their names are Earnest. But, they do all want to be married, there is no conflict in that sense. Cecily was the engaged the longest—weirdo. Proposing and writing love letters to herself. At least she’s hot though, I guess. Maybe Algernon should have known about Barney Stinson’s crazy/hot scale. Wilde seems to have an interesting view on marriage. He almost makes it seem as if marriage is not a big deal. It’s just kind of a whatever thing! Cecily accepts to marry Algernon within an hour of knowing him! I think that Wilde may even be making fun of the way that people rush into marriage so quickly. They jump into marriage without really even knowing the person. Gwen and Cecily didn’t even know their fiances’ real names! Wilde may have been making a statement on getting to know someone better first. It’s a big commitment, and I like to believe that Wilde respects that fact. Because the way he talks of marriage in his play could come off as slightly offensive.ReplyDelete
The two people I am going to focus on are Jack and Algernon. Jack is in love with Gwendolen and wants to settle down and marry her and have a family. When Jack first tells Algy he wants to Marry Gwendolen he cannot believe what he is hearing (Wilde 185). Algy does not want to be tied down to one woman, he wants to live free and do as he pleases. His entire view changes however when he arrives at Jack’s and meets Cecily; he is suddenly transformed into this kind, passionate, head over heels in love man (Wilde 218). I found that in the end with everyone quite in love, I think that Oscar Wilde’s view of love and marriage was a positive one even, if he did poke fun in the beginning. I was not the least bit offended even while Algy was of the mind to just have as many girls as he want to do whatever he wants to do. I thought it was also humorous how he completely transformed algy in such a quick drastic way. The change really did happen in a matter of moments. I also thought forgiveness was an ingredient of love as well. Both women decided to forgive the men for their earlier deceptions when they discover the good intentions behind their crimes. It seems that the definition of love in this play is not so much unconditional and self-sacrificing love, but a general attitude of good intentions, admiration, and honest affection toward one another.ReplyDelete
We can see Oscar Wilde’s sense of humor in The Importance of Being Earnest. He portrays his views of marriage in a very sarcastic and unrealistic way as the story unfolds. Many people would find his views offensive. For instance, it seems that the only reason that Gwendolyn is attracted to Earnest, but really Jack, is because his name is Earnest. That is found on page eleven of the Dover Thrift Edition of the play. For those people who are romantics when it comes to novels, they would not like this one because there is not really anything romantic in The Importance of Being Earnest. Both Gwendolyn Fairfax and Cecily Cardew share similar ideas about the perfect husband; actually only one. They both agree that their husband’s name has to be Earnest. The reader can find this out at the tea party where both Gwendolyn and Cecily meet and claim that they will be best friends. The difference between both Gwendolyn and Cecily is the time frame they spent dating their fiancées. Gwendolyn Fairfax and Earnest Worthing probably spent years getting to know each other somewhat in secret because of Gwendolyn’s mother’s attitude toward marriage which is that the man has to have both class and money. Cecily Cardew however just met Algernon, who told her that his name was Earnest, and they were planning to get married within a twenty four hour time frame. In this play, Oscar Wilde’s views on marriage can be read with many different interpretations, however humorous he portrays them to be.ReplyDelete
The characters in The Importance of Being Earnest have very different views on marriage and most of them change throughout the play. For example, in the beginning of the play Jack talks about wanting to propose to Gwendolyn. Algernon acts completely shocked at this upcoming proposal and laughs at Jack for wanting to be married to one girl forever. He basically says it is better to have more than just one pretty girl and Jack shouldn't tie himself down like that. Algernon proves his hypocrisy later in the play when he meets Cecily. Cecily, on the contrary, is quite the hopeless romantic. She fell in love with Algernon before she even met him. What kind of crazy person writes love letters to herself? That was actually my favorite part of the play. Cecily is just a young, silly girl that is really far too naïve to even be thinking about marriage. This is strange because she had the longest engagement. I found Wilde's view on marriage humorous instead of offensive. The characters clearly could care less about their marriage and more about their names. They all practically dive into marriage without even slightly attempting to get to know their fiancés first. Wilde talks about the importance of being earnest, but, I think, he hints at the importance of knowing a person before you make such a strong commitment to them. Even though marriage is definitely not supposed to be treated as a joke, Wilde does it pretty successfully.ReplyDelete
The two characters I would like to deeper analyze are Jack Worthing and Lady Bracknell. These two couldn’t be more opposite. Jack is in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax, Lady Bracknell’s daughter. Lady Bracknell isn’t all too happy about Jack and Gwendolyn’s relationship. She has a list of eligible men that she sees fit for her daughter and Jack is not on this list, “I feel bound to tell you that you are not down on my list of eligible young men.” (Pages 21-22) Lady Bracknell is extremely ignorant, prideful, and has an authoritarian type nature. Her view of love and marriage is all about where it is going to get you in the long run. All she cares about is status. Marriage and love is all about status to her. This is made apparent when Lady Bracknell gave a dinner party and was complaining how she would prefer her husband to eat downstairs with the servants. Marriage and relationship is all about what she can get out of it. Jack on the other hand is completely different. He still has his own faults; yet, he genuinely cares for Gwendolyn and wants her happiness. He thinks about other people rather than himself in his relationships. He usually is patient with others and slow to anger. His view on marriage is more relationship and love based. The overall attitude I think Oscar Wilde has on marriage is that if two people love each other, then nothing should stop them from marriage. It became apparent to me that Wilde used Lady Bracknell to show off the ridiculousness of English aristocracy at that time. It appears that a lot of people born of higher nobility share similar views with the character of Lady Bracknell. Through satire, Wilde was able to voice his immense disapproval for this kind of view of love and marriage. I think if we could ask him today, he would tell us that he does not agree with love and marriage based on status, or even parent chosen brides/grooms for that matter. At the end of the story he had Jack or (the correct view on marriage) rise up against Lady Bracknell (the wrong view of marriage). I find the way Wilde portrayed marriage as interesting and possessing hints of realism. Although probably somewhat exaggerated, at the time in which Wilde wrote this story, it wasn’t all that odd to see arranged marriages based on status in English nobility.ReplyDelete
Wilde puts a fun spin on the concept of love, engagement, and marriage. Oscar Wilde created characters that are air heads, and do not take love seriously. Specifically, Cecily and Lady Bracknell have...interesting views on marriage.For example, Cecily tells Algernon, whom she just met, that they "have been engaged for the last three months"(pgs.32-33), simply because she wrote it down in her diary. And of course, Algernon is estatic about this, which is funny because no couple would ever desire to become engaged in such a bizarre way!Cecily is so foolish on how to choose a mate, that she creates a fantasy world in which she has been engaged for months. Wilde is showing the foolishness of desiring relationships too strongly. Wilde also shows how the upper class was a bit biased on who should marry whom. For example, Lady Bracknell refuses to let Jack marry her daughter simply because Jack was "bred in a handbag(pg.14)." In other words, he did not have a classy enough family history, and was therefore unworthy of Lady Bracknell's daughter. Wilde managed to make serious comments about the idea of marrying for money and class through the use of funny characters. He even poked fun at the idea of arranged marriages, when he writes from Lady Bracknell's point of view, "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." (pg. 12) Wilde was clearly against the idea of marrying "up in society" for all the wrong reasons, and was for the idea that people should marry for love. I personally find it hilarious how Wilde is making all of these cleverly placed comments about marriage in such a funny play.ReplyDelete
Okay. So I'm going to talk about Jack and Algernon. Jack is in love and wants to marry one girl. That is how it should be too. Algernon is like Barney Stinson (Miss Johnson, you know what im talking about. haha) He likes to get all the women he can. He thinks marriage is for suckers and basically that once you get married, your life is over. But then, he meets Cecily and boom, it changes his whole opinion (This IS Barney Stinson, seriously). It was like love at first sight. With that being said, its crazy to think that She accepted his marriage request so quickly. Wilde had funny way to look at marriage. Its funny how what he wrote about then, still applies today. Some young girls, like those in high school for example, think that they have fallen in love and will be together with a person forever and ever as if it were a fairytale. Cecily didn't even know who Algernon was yet before she fell head over heels for him. You also see in today's society that several guys think of women as objects and just want to "have fun" with every girl they see. Algernon in a way matured in his views but I don't think that he should have wanted to get married so quickly. Wilde's view of marriage was very humorous and he demonstrated it in a way that is admirable.ReplyDelete
Algernon, at the beginning of the play believes that the idea of marriage is ludicrous and that it is an unpleasant thing. In the beginning of Act 1 Jack States that he has come up to town on pleasure with the hopes of asking Gwendolen for her hand in marriage. To which Algernon states: “I thought you had come up for pleasure… I call that business”. Algernon looks down at marriage believing that all the romance is taken out of love as soon as one gets married or one proposes. However, as the play unfolds he becomes enraptured by Cecily Cardew, Jack Worthing’s ward, and he professes such love that he proposes to her the day he meets her. Cecily is a little eccentric, for she states that they are already engaged. Even going as far as writing herself letters from “Ernest”. Whacko. Whereas, Lady Bracknell sees marriage as business transaction of sorts, being the mother of Gwendolen she has high hopes for her daughter’s marriage. She has gone as far as creating a list of men she finds suitable to marry her daughter off to, based on how much property they own and their reputation in society. I enjoyed how Wilde entertains his readers by showing his sense of humor through the characters and their beliefs on marriage, love, and relationships. Wilde has many reservations about marriage in the beginning of the play; however, later he shows his belief in marriage being about love instead of money and reputations by having the leading male characters end up with their true loves.ReplyDelete
Marriage and love between a man and a woman are certainly largely discussed topics in The Importance of Being Earnest. One character in the play is Jack, also called Earnest. Jack falls in love with Gwendolyn, the daughter of a rich woman. Jack loves Gwendolyn’s personality and spirit and thus compels him to ask her to marry him. Love is personal and according to the heart in his eyes. Marriage is, to him, a way he can spend his life with the one he loves. In Act One Jack talks to Gwendolyn and sais that he is happy when Gwendolyn mentions that she passionately loves him. On the other hand, Lady Bracknell , Gwendolyn’s mother, sees marriage with a more political viewpoint. She wants her daughter, to marry for money and a good name, which is most likely what she did herself. Lady Bracknell does not often consider love to be much of a part of marriage. Also in Act One Lady Bracknell sais that when Gwendolyn is to be engaged, that she of Lord Bracknell would tell Gwendolyn. The fact that Gwendolyn and Cecily both plan at one point in the play to not marry their lovers because of false names and other predicaments, but then, after figuring out the names, decide to marry once more, gives a humorous and light tone about marriage. The decisions made so quickly to marry at one moment, especially Cecily to someone she has never met, and then the next to hold it off, gives a vacillating and unfounded view on a very important decision in someone’s life. I don’t find this casualty to be too offensive, however this take on marriage and relationships does not quite long lasting.ReplyDelete
Two of the people whose love is different is actually Jack/John/Earnest and Gwendolyn. Earnest is in love with Gwendolyn and is willing to do anything to have her. First he blows his cover by telling Algy that he has a second life, just to marry Gwendolyn. Then, to keep her love, Earnest decides to actually change his name to Earnest. Earnests love for Gwen seems much deeper than Gwen's love for him. Earnest changes his name and reveals his biggest secret for her. Gwen, however, wouldn't even love Earnest if his name wasn't Earnest. Gwen is a much more selfish and dishonest lover than Earnest. She is shallow and probably doesn't know what she is getting into, thinking that she is actually in love with the man, when she is really just in love with his name. At the end their relationship does actually work out but only because we find out that Earnests name actually is Earnest, even though even he didn't know it for most of the story.ReplyDelete