The target of the satire used in the play “the importance of being earnest’ by is cultural norms of marriage love and mindset. These cultural aspects were very rigid during the Victorian age. The play uses satire to ridicule these institutions. By making ridiculous the idea of morals, standards, and manners, it shows the deviation from the social order.
The play focuses on two major couples, Cecily and Algernon and Jack and Gwendolen. Cecily and Gwendolen have a great desire to have a husband called “Earnest.” They both make a big deal out of a trivial matter as a name by placing a lot of emphasis on it. Gwendolen replies to jack that “No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed,” when jack tries to tell her that his real name is Jack and not earnest. This shows the use of farce to exaggerate the mind frame of people in the upper class. Also, Cecily dreams of getting married to someone called Earnest. She says to Algernon “There is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence. I pity any poor married woman whose husband is not called Ernest.” This shows how people place a lot of significances to trivial, superficial and silly matters such as name and gives less attention to important things in marriage. Therefore, Wilde uses exaggeration to satirize the marriage institution as it is not based on love but vain trivial criteria. In this case, the author does not only satirize the aristocrats using exaggeration but also brings across the fact that the two may have refused to marry the men of their dream if they dint have “Earnest” as their names. Therefore, marriage institutions are the target of satire used in the play.
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