In Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Keen, satire is employed to emphasize the triviality and absurdity of certain exhibitions within Victorian society. The play’s main characters epitomize Victorian substantial society, thus, the criticism that arises from Wilde’s exaggeration extends beyond the enjoy itself. Particularly, Wilde exaggerates the consumption of food, a apparently normal nonevent. However , Schwule presents this kind of a typically mundane event as an emotionally moving experience. Every time food is definitely introduced right into a scene, a personality is also sense an feeling that is non-traditional for time.
Throughout the 19th century, it was considered impolite intended for members in the upper levels of society to expose conflicting and personal feelings. In public areas, any kind of overbearing emotion would have to be suppressed in order to maintain correct decorum. Responding to these societal rules, Wilde uses the Victorians hyperbole of their food intake to represent the emotions that they will be unable to display. By using meals to hide and contrain unpleasant emotions like lust, aggression, and stress, Wilde conveys the Victorian Era’s aversion to public exhibits of these kinds of emotions.
Discussing one’s feelings of lust and sexual desire defied the doctrinal rules of polite discussion which were very important to Victorian society, Wilde represents these types of emotions and their repression by disguising these a large hunger. In the perform, there are many obstacles between the males and the girls they love. Jack, specifically, is madly in love with Gwendolyn and programs to get married to her. However , issues just like Gwendolyn’s domineering mother and Jack’s different identity wait in the way of the couples union. Without an official marriage, both the are unable to ideal their like, ultimately giving Jack full of sexual desire. Ahead of his proposal to Gwendolyn, Jack déclaration his want to Algernon, you can only think about the lust Plug is sense towards his possible wife. At this point, Jack’s relationship with Gwendolyn has not surpassed flirting, leaving him sexually discouraged. As a member an excellent source of society, Jack port cannot away rightly notify Algernon of his wants, as they will be perceived as below respectable. Instead, Jack directs his frustration towards the provided food and seeks to sustain his appetite. Following being rejected the cucumber sandwiches, Algernon suggests that Jack eat several of “the breads and butter [that] is perfect for Gwendolyn” (3). Jack then proceeds to eat in a ravenous manner that triggers Algernon to comment, “you need not eat as if you had been going to eat it all” (3). Algernon claims that Jack can be “behav[ing] as if [he] were married to [Gwendolyn] already”, ultimately implying that Jack’s eager consumption of the loaf of bread mirrors a husbands determination to pursue sexual contact with a wife (3). As a result, Jack’s hunger to eat the bread and butter can be described as manifestation of his sexual interest for Gwendolyn, the rapidness of the consumption correlates with the lustful feelings that arise through the conversation.
Wilde further mocks the Victorian convention that forbids individuals from the upper class coming from openly talking about lust by making use of this aggravation to the basic act of eating. During this time, members the top class were expected to keep in public a form disposition, despite any angry sentiments an individual may be feeling. To accurately reflect the era’s conferences, Wilde stifles the heroes aggression through redirecting it towards foodstuff. In Work II, Gwendolyn’s arrival by Jack’s country house makes conflicts that incite out and out aggression. Upon advantages, Gwendolyn uses a fondness to Cecily, creating her to even say, “we will be great friends” (32). However , after a misconception that causes Gwendolyn and Cecily to believe that “Earnest” acquired proposed to them both, both the quickly develop antipathy toward one another. Previous in the perform, each girl had believed to be excited about her individual “Earnest”, therefore , the thought of somebody threatening that love obviously incites a lot of aggression. In spite of their anger, they are not able to openly share their feelings, as accomplishing this was not suitable in contemporary society. Instead, both sit down pertaining to tea and subtly direct their anger towards one particular another’s meals. Cecily, motivated as a host or hostess, offers Gwendolyn sugar for her tea and a choice of wedding cake or breads and butter. Gwendolyn, struggling to directly criticize her person hosting as a person, resorts to insulting Cecily’s preference, saying that, “sugar is not fashionable any longer [ and] cake can be rarely noticed at the greatest houses” (38). In retaliation, Cecily places four glucose lumps in to Gwendolyn’s tea and reductions her a slice of cake, contemporary society does not grant a direct respond from Cecily, so the lady resorts to directing her anger for the food.
Wilde further more emphasizes the intake of food to illustrate the good feelings of tension that users of high culture were instructed to subdue. The play’s complex plot delivers many conflicts, causing every character to undergo a large amount of pressure. The end of Act 2 is particularly nerve-racking, as deceit is found out and interactions are ruined. After Gwendolyn and Cecily discover Plug and Algernon’s true identities, they storm back to your house. Jack and Algernon happen to be left dejected by their true loves, and uncertain in the event there will be a chance to amend the specific situation. Though Jack is in the beginning outwardly conflicted about the circumstances, he rapidly becomes diverted by Algernon’s ingestion of muffins. Algernon rejects the sentiment of stress by claiming that he “can’t eat muffins in an irritated manner”: even though this is stated humorously, it illustrates his tendency to deemphasize crucial sentiments including stress and emphasize simple acts just like eating. Since society attempts them coming from expressing thoughts of tension, Algernon places to “eating [, as it] is a only point that games consoles [him]” (41). Wilde then simply dedicates a huge portion of dialogue between the two to putting an emphasis on greediness in relation to food. Rather than discussing the specific situation at hand and the mutual stress, they emphasis their attention upon the distribution of food. That they refer to each other’s consumption as “greedy” and seek to convince the other to have teacake rather (41). The two men desire the muffins and need them as their own, contacting to mind their very own feelings toward the identity Earnest. However , the limitations of society prevent them from directly discussing the more prevalent, nevertheless stressful concern, thus, the 2 are kept redirecting all their stress onto the muffins instead.
By covering the characters feelings with overstated attention to and interaction with food, Schwule illustrates the farcical magnitude that the prestige went to in order to preserve a pleasing image. Members of high culture were enthusiastic about maintaining an image of flawlessness according to which one only practiced right behavior in public places. Any comments able to trigger tension were deemed upsetting and unrespectable. However upsetting these thoughts may be, it can be human nature to regard these people as severe, as everybody has knowledgeable them. Because of the serious character of these emotions, applying them towards meals and ingesting, rather simple matters relative to an individual’s psychological well-being, looks quite humorous to the visitor. Wilde brightens the ridiculousness in relating the expression on the emotions to being improper and mocks the practice, by doing so, he conveys his disapproval of the importance positioned on maintaining a pleasing front. Wilde’s use of foodstuff as a mask illustrates just how confining and stifling it had been to be among the list of upper class inside the Victorian age.