In the late 1890’s, the upper class English society talked in a dignified, proper manner. Everything they said had either a positive or negative effect on their family members, associates, even themselves. Basically it was all a show people put on to remain in the non-scandalous side of society. In “The Importance of Being Earnest”, the playwright displays the characters in such a way that the stupidity of the upper class language and actions is portrayed through aspects of the play.
The differentiation between the upper and lower classes of society was clearly demonstrated through “The Importance of Being Earnest”. In Victorian times the lower class people were out-casts, considered as nothing and often shunned by the upper class. We see an example of this when we are first introduced to Lane (the butler) and Algernon (the master of the house) when they are discussing family life. Algernon rambles on about his family while Lane listens with patience. As soon as Lane says one thing about his past Algernon won’t have a bar of it. “I don’t know that I am much interested in your family life Lane.” Here, Algernon acts as though his family is superior to Lanes, even though he knows nothing about Lane’s family. This is just a typical day in the life of an 1890’s butler.
The men and women of the Victorian times were not what you could call “equal sexes”. Women were generally there for the role of child bearing and for a man’s pleasure, while the men were the “money makers” and decision making people of then house. The playwright shows this when Cecely and Gwendolen are talking about equality of the sexes. “Gwendolen: Men are infinitely beyond us.” Jack replies with a “We are!” and clasps hands with Algernon. In actual fact, the women of the play and those in the 1890’s could have easily have been up there competing with the men. But chose not too because they would be the scandal of the neighborh