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Victorian Values as Reflected in the Writings of Oscar Wilde

Adam Galamaga

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Essay aus dem Jahr 2012 im Fachbereich Anglistik - Literatur, Note: 1,7, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Sprache: Deutsch, Abstract: From today's point of view, the Victorian era seems to have been a paradoxical period in British
history. On the one hand it is a time of revolutionary inventions, rapid industrialisation and further
expansion of the Empire. On the other hand it is also a time, when a huge number of people lived in
poorest conditions and crime and prostitution were daily fare. What is commonly understood by the
term 'Victorian values' today - decency, chastity, diligence, godliness -, was not a common place
neither in the working class nor in high society. One may say that the strong notion of morality,
which was embodied most profoundly by the institution of marriage, was in fact systematically
trespassed by all social classes. Hypocrisy was considered to be the worst vice by Victorians and yet
it seems to have been prevalent by the end of the 19th century. It is also the late period of the
Victorian era that saw comedies mocking the rigid and yet inconsequent morality. Most prominent
plays are those by Oscar Wilde, but before we look closer at the way he satirised the Victorian
society, it is first helpful to examine some of the characteristics of that society, which play an
important role in his works.
The first aspect worth mentioning is the fact that Victorian England was a class society with strictly
defined roles of each class. The time is marked not only by the obvious dominance of the
aristocracy that became even richer due to industrial development (e.g. coal mines), but also by the
formation of a middle-class striving for profit and more power, which eventually led to so-called
Reform Act. On the other hand, however, there was a vast majority of poor workers, which caused
tremendous social problems and became also an important topic of English literature. [...]


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Seitenzahl 5 (Printausgabe)
Erscheinungsdatum 23.01.2013
Sprache Deutsch
EAN 9783656358466
Verlag GRIN
Dateigröße 417 KB


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