A quest for freedom in the Victorian age: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnes
Chaitanya Gadhiraju, L Manjula Davidson
Oscar Wilde known for his unrestrained passion for freedom created the present drama under study. Set during the Victorian age that was well-known for its restrained and restricted view of life, Wilde used it as a background for his drama The Importance of Being Earnest. Equally well-known was Wilde’s philosophy regarding the aesthetic movement that was raging during his period. “Art for art’s sake” was Wilde’s punch line and this is what put him in league literary stalwarts such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Arthur Symons and Walter Pater. Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest portrays the hypocrisy and the double standards that were inherently found during the Victorian era. The Victorian era known for its immoral stance was nevertheless was quite notorious for the interplay of morality and immorality. The immoral character of the Victorian era was however, well cloaked. It is this contradictory nature of the era that Wilde attempts to portray especially in his social comedies such as The Importance of Being Earnest by adding the following subtitle: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. The present study aims to capture the morality versus immorality stance that is flagrantly flaunted by many a character in Wilde’s work The Importance of Being Earnest.