Sunday, 24 January 2021

Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde

 The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde


Introduction

The Importance of Being Earnest, in full The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious Peopleplay in three acts by Oscar Wilde, performed in 1895 and published in 1899. A satire of Victorian social hypocrisy, the witty play is considered Wilde’s greatest dramatic achievement.
Jack Worthing is a fashionable young man who lives in the country with his ward, Cecily Cardew. He has invented a rakish brother named Ernest whose supposed exploits give Jack an excuse to travel to London periodically to rescue him. Jack is in love with Gwendolen Fairfax, the cousin of his friend Algernon Moncrieff. Gwendolen, who thinks Jack’s name is Ernest, returns his love, but her mother, Lady Bracknell, objects to their marriage because Jack is an orphan who was found in a handbag at Victoria Station. Jack discovers that Algernon has been impersonating Ernest in order to woo Cecily, who has always been in love with the imaginary rogue Ernest. Ultimately it is revealed that Jack is really Lady Bracknell’s nephew, that his real name is Ernest, and that Algernon is actually his brother. The play ends with both couples happily united. (Britannica)

Characters



Plot Summary

Thematic Study

Check your understanding: Online Test

Thinking Activity: Points to Ponder

Ponder upon these points and write a blog. Paste the link of your blog-post in the comment section
  1. Wilde originally subtitled The Importance of Being Earnest “A Serious Comedy for Trivial People” but changed that to “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” What is the difference between the two subtitles?
  2. Which of the female character is the most attractive to you among Lady Augusta Bracknell, Gwendolen Fairfax, Cecily Cardew and Miss Prism? Give your reasons for she being the most attractive among all.
  3. The play repeatedly mocks Victorian traditions and social customs, marriage and the pursuit of love in particular. Through which situations and characters is this happening in the play.
  4. Queer scholars have argued that the play's themes of duplicity and ambivalence are inextricably bound up with Wilde's homosexuality, and that the play exhibits a "flickering presence-absence of… homosexual desire" Do you agree with this observation? Give your arguments to justify your stance.

Additional Resourses:

Radio Play Performance of the Importance of Being Earnest


Saturday, 16 January 2021

The Rover - Aphra Behn

 The Rover or The Banish'd Cavaliers: A Play by Aphra Behn



Introduction

The Rover, in full The Rover; or, The Banish’t Cavalierscomedy by Aphra Behn, produced and published in two parts in 1677 and 1681. Set in Madrid and Naples during the exile of England’s King Charles II, the play depicts the adventures of a small group of English Cavaliers. The protagonist, the charming but irresponsible Willmore, may have been modeled on John Wilmot Rochester, a poet in the inner circle of Charles II. The hero’s real-life counterpart may also have been John Hoyle, who was a lover of the playwright. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Aphra Behn's "The Rover" was published in 1677 and first performed in March of that year at Duke's Theatre in Dorset Garden. The play is based upon Thomas Killigrew's drama "Thomas, or, The Wanderer," which was published in 1664. Some dialogue in Behn's "The Rover" closely resembles that found in Thomaso's script; however, the majority of the text was re-written completely, or else is entirely original. As a result of such similarities between texts, Behn was accused of plagiarism on more than one occasion.

Behn's "The Rover" was very well received in the theatre, particularly by Charles II, and also by his successors. Seventy performances of the play are recorded between 1700 and 1725, and another eighty-eight over the course of the following thirty-five years. (Sally Butler)


Download Original Play - The Rover

Characters

Plot Summary

Act wise Analysis

Thematic Study

Online Test: Check your understanding

Inscription on Aphra Behn's Tombstone:

"Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be Defence enough against Mortality."
Aphra Behn's writings (poems and plays) revealed the immoral behaviour of the men of her time. The men of the day, with witty language, used to cover-up their debauched and lascivious (immoral) behaviour. To counter such culture of the civilized nobility of the time, she might have drawn equally immoral women characters. Not only the female characters, even her own life was an example, which scandalously, made a brave statement against the free space given only to the men during her time. Thus, in this context, we can read the inscription as - 'the witty men tried to defend their lascivious behaviour by their wit, however, Behn revealed their true nature and proved that immoral behaviour cannot be veiled or hidden under the garb of witty language. She, herself and her writings, ironically enough, lies to prove that wit can never be defence enough against morality. (Westminister-Abbey's Website)



Video Resources on 'The Rover'


Articles:

Monday, 4 January 2021

Absalom and Achitophel: Worksheet

 Absalom and Achitophel: John Dryden



1. The Original Poem

2. Introduction and other information:


Absalom and Achitophel, verse satire by English poet John Dryden published in 1681. The poem, which is written in heroic couplets, is about the Exclusion crisis, a contemporary episode in which anti-Catholics, notably the earl of Shaftesbury, sought to bar James, duke of York, a Roman Catholic convert and brother to King Charles II, from the line of succession in favour of the king’s illegitimate (but Protestant) son, the duke of Monmouth. Dryden based his work on a biblical incident recorded in 2 Samuel 13–19. These chapters relate the story of King David’s favourite son Absalom and his false friend Achitophel (Ahithophel), who persuades Absalom to revolt against his father. In his poem, Dryden assigns each figure in the crisis a biblical name; e.g., Absalom is Monmouth, Achitophel is Shaftesbury, and David is Charles II. Despite the strong anti-Catholic tenor of the times, Dryden’s clear and persuasive dissection of the intriguers’ motives helped to preserve the duke of York’s position.

A second part of the poem—largely composed by Nahum Tate, playwright and poet laureate of Britain, but containing 200 lines by Dryden that were directed at his literary rivals Thomas Shadwell and Elkanah Settle—was published in 1682. (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Absalom and Achitophel is a celebrated satirical poem by John Dryden, written in heroic couplets and first published in 1681. The poem tells the Biblical tale of the rebellion of Absalom against King David; in this context it is an allegory used to represent a story contemporary to Dryden, concerning King Charles II and the Exclusion Crisis (1679–1681). The poem also references the Popish Plot (1678) and the Monmouth Rebellion (1685). Click her to learn more.

3. Analysis of the Poem: Absalom and Achitophel:

John Dryden’s publication of Absalom and Achitophel (1681) had a specific political motivation. He wrote the poem during the threat of revolution in England, connected to the so-called Popish plot and the move to exclude the reigning King Charles II’s Catholic brother, James, duke of York, from his right to follow the Protestant Charles to the throne. The protesting faction supported instead Charles’s bastard son, James, duke of Monmouth, whom Charles recognized as his son but not his heir. Born in the Netherlands to Lucy Walter, James was a product of only one of many sexual liaisons of his mother’s. While rumors existed that Charles had secretly married Lucy, granting legitimacy to James, others insisted that James could not even be proved Charles’s son. Charles never produced an heir with his wife, the Portuguese Catherine of Brangaza. Although Lucy followed Charles to England, where James was raised a pampered member of the court and eventually made a duke, she had died before Charles married Catherine. (Click here to read full analysis) 

4.Themes:

(i) 

Politics, Allegory, and Satire


5. Character Study:

 6. Allegorical Reference to People and Places:


7. Video Resources on Absalom and Achitophel

(i) The Audio Book
 

(ii) Introducing John Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel by Dr. Oindrila Ghosh
 

(iii) 
 

(iv)


8. Check your understanding: Appear in Online Test

9. Video Recording of Online Classes