The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
, in full , play 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)
Thinking Activity: Points to Ponder
Ponder upon these points and write a blog. Paste the link of your blog-post in the comment section
- Wilde originally subtitled “A Serious Comedy for Trivial People” but changed that to “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” What is the difference between the two subtitles?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.