Explore Victorian-era British culture and social norms

by | Apr 27, 2022 | Classic English literature

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… is one of my favorite plays. I have read other works by Oscar Wilde. They all explore Victorian-era British culture and social norms. Etiquette. Propriety. Maintaining decorum in public spaces. They explore these ideas through an examination of the aristocracy and wealthy upper classes. However, Wilde is more subversive than that. What he calls attention to, he often is mocking. How can one be so proper in public and so absurd behind closed doors? What truly makes the wealthy that much more different than any other class (aside from a few zeroes in a bank account)?
Wilde would explore characterization by looking at what hides beneath the surface. He explored the darkside of human nature. This is part of what gave rise to the Gothic genre. While it was custom to appear to a certain standard in public (a concept that was maintained by the namesake of the era- Queen Victoria), most people indulged in some very dark and problematic behaviors behind the scenes. Dracula. Frankenstein. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jane Eyre. Anything by Poe. These all explored the dark side that exists behind a facade of propriety maintained by the uber-rich.
While T.I.o.B.E is not nearly as dark, it does not necessarily pain the uber-wealthy in glorious light. It actually invites the reader to judge them a bit; to laugh at them and not necessarily with them.
As you read, keep this in mind and think of the perspective of the writer while drawing conclusions on your own. Then see how those perspectives can be compared to the 2002 film adaptation. (I tried to find a free version on Youtube. Sadly I couldn’t. However, if you have Amazon Prime or Hulu, it is on both streaming platforms!) This work is going to be in preparation for our last big aqssignment in this course.
Finish reading the second half of the play.
Write at least one additional page comparing the movie to the second half of the play.

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