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. Th
" The words "social possibilities" is one of the more obvious hints in Wildes play, that everything you wore was scrutinized by society. In actual fact, the women of the play and those in the 1890"tms could have easily have been up there competing with the men. "We live, I regret to say, in the age of surfaces"There are distinct social possibilities in your profile. There was a certain fear in the air that you might go down to the lower class with them, and bring all your family and other acquaintances with you. " It did not matter in those days if you were a nice person or not. " Merriman does not ask to be thanked, or protest, he just goes about his usual self, doing things a footman does. The men and women of the Victorian times were not what you could call "equal sexes". We see this importance of money when Lady Brackenell was checking out Cecely"tms background to see whether or not she was suitable for her young nephew. This allowed the two men to escape form society"tms pressures once in a while. This shallow, selfishness was common in women of Victorian times and was expected by the men. The amount of money you had, was one of the main factors in determining which class you, as a person, belonged to. In the play, Lady Brackenell was worried about Jack"tms association with his so-called "invalid friend, Bunbury". If you "hung" around with someone that might have been in a lower class than you, then you were seen as strange and suspicious. "You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to down as often as you like. When Lady Brackenell was "examining" Cecily one of the first things she automatically thought of was what Cecily looked like.