Explore the Dramatic Significane of Lady Bracknell in Act 1
Explore the dramatic significance of Lady Bracknell in Act 1 Throughout Act 1, Oscar Wilde uses the character of Lady Bracknell as a highly comedic character who causes the entire play to come together by unknowingly creating a calamitous chain of events to occur by her refusal to let her daughter Gwendolyn marry to Jack Worthing. She is presented as strict, uptight woman who is very much the Matriarch of the family.
One way Wilde presents this idea is when Lady Bracknell is interviewing Jack on whether he should be allowed to marry Gwendolyn. In the interview Lady Bracknell is seen asking Jack questions such as “Do you smoke” this could indicate the void of old London society where more important issues weren’t considered as important in an world of extravagance, wealth and luxury such as the one they were living in.
Lady Bracknell is first and foremost a symbol of Victorian seriousness and the unhappiness it brings as a result. She is powerful, arrogant, ruthless to the extreme, conservative, and proper. In many ways, she represents Wilde’s opinion of Victorian upper-class negativity, conservative values, and power it is also thought that Wilde had fashioned Lady Bracknell by basing her on the hierarchy within it.
Her overshadowing presence in act one tells us how the mood and tone dramatically changes when she is in and out of the room, for example when she is not in the room Jack is relaxed and at ease with Gwendolyn, but when she returns and tells Jack to “rise from this semi-recumbent posture, it is most indecorous” he instantaneously stumbles to get up. It is her question on Jacks parents which eventually leads to the rest of the play falling together when she asks where his parents are, which he replies to that he was abandoned as a child, she comes up with a witty, hilarious remark of “to lose one parent, Mr.
Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness. ” The idea of this statement is so ridiculous it is regarded as comical yet it also reveals that she will not Jack to marry Gwendolyn as she believes already that he is reckless and immature and his admission further proves that he is not responsible enough to marry her daughter. This sets of a series of events that lead to the eventual revelation at the end of the play and the humorous events in-between.