Oscar Wilde Essay, Research Paper
This statement is pronounced by Gwendolen Fairfax, when Jack Worthing proposes to her by standing on his knee. Oscar Wilde tries to demonstrate in this phrase the young woman?s obsession with social acceptance. The mere fact that she is getting a marriage proposal from a good man that adores her is not satisfying enough. She wants him to show off his feelings for her in front of other lavish people, so that she constantly looks desirable. Her behavior is designed to meet her social class?s demands. One of those demands is to be able to flirt with a man, especially if he is your husband.
Gwendolen has been trained to follow the dictates of fashion. She takes tea without sugar and bread and butter instead of cake because it is fashionable to do so. Her strict attachment to such unimportant things make her the essence of artificiality. All her real passions disappear or remain hidden under a polished surface. It is interesting to note Gwendolen?s relations with her mother, Lady Bracknell, who orders her around constantly. There is nothing of rebellious youth about her. She does not object to her treatment. She simply says, “Yes, mamma,” and then does as she pleases. Though, with Jack she is demanding. When Jack talks about marriage, Gwendolen does not want to hear of it without a perfect proposal, and that is when she makes him get on his knee. A young woman who is so much in love with a man should not be concerned with this, since she admits to him beforehand how much she loves him. Such behavior makes me doubt her real feelings. It is assumed that all this person cares about is how will she look from aside. Gwendolen is far from the image of “a nice , sweet, refined girl”. On the contrary, she is spoiled, demanding, opportunistic, and does not care for personal inconvenience.
Oscar Wilde laughs at such phony behavior that is the essence of a rich social class. Gwendolen is a perfect representative of her society. Her life depends on parties, frequent visits to friends and relatives, basically she lives for her pleasure, on her family capital. She can not take marriage seriously because she is a product of her society, where marriage is a financial opportunity for a woman. Gwendolen?s social acceptance is a goal of her life and she would even marry more than once to establish “perfect” reputation among her friends.