Oscar Wilde’s wildly popular play The Importance of Being Earnest calls upon a long English theatrical tradition epitomized by William Shakespeare: the use of double and sometimes triple meanings. On one level, you may say that the characters are not “earnest” in their behaviors; that they are all frivolous and irresponsible. This would be on the satircal level; the level at which Wilde is poking fun at the ridiculaousness he sees in English society of his day.
On another level, each of the characters is precisely earnest in following their convictions. Cecily is adamantly earnest in having fallen in love with her guardian’s rascally brother Earnest who lives and causes trouble in London. Gwendolyn is paramountly earnest in her conviction that she could never love anyone not named Earnest. Algernon is unjokingly earnest in and devoted to his need to be free to escape to the leisure of the country as a Bunburyist. John Worthing is wholeheartedly earnest in his ploy of escaping the tedium of the country by having an irresponsible brother named Earnest living in London who needs taking care of. Miss Prism…well…you get the picture.
Both Algernon and John adopt the name Earnest for rascally purposes that ironically gain them happiness and the loves of their dreams because both their loves have vowed never to marry anyone not named Earnest. So you can readily see how being Earnest would be extraordinarily important here. As it turns out, John Worthing is…or was…before he was put in the handbag…named Earnest, so for John, being Earnest takes on an added importance of birthright.
The Term Paper on Compare And Contrast John Locke And Jean Jacques Rousseau On The Theme Of Equality
Compare and Contrast John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau on the Theme of Equality The notion of equality was much discussed by modern and ancient philosophers. All of them I think contributed to the level of contemporary understanding of this notion. I think that the brightest and the weightiest works dedicated to equality were written by John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau in 18th century. The ...
The importance of being earnest has satirical meaning as Wilde laughs at English society for being so adamantly earnest about irrelevancies. It also has story meaning as the story is moved along by the various characters’ earnestness in their, perhaps silly, convictions. It has plot importance because the conflict is in fact developed around the name Earnest and who will marry Earnest. It also has importance because the reverse-Bunburyism pulled by both John and Algernon adds witty humor and complications to the story. It is also important because the resolution of the play is in the discovery of John’s true identity. Oh my. Being earnest/Earnest has rather a great deal of importance.
atire in Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is a play by Oscar Wilde, set in the
late 1800’s. His actors are playing upper class citizens who are very
self-absorbed. The play is set amongst upper class, wealthy people.
They appear not to work and are concerned with their own pleasure.
Nothing is taken seriously except trivial things.
Firstly, Algernon Moncreiff talks about absurdly trivially nonsense
with a complete irrelevance, as when talking about the importance of
science, he asks, “Have you got the cucumber sandwiches”.
When an intelligent conversation is taking place, the conversation has
completely altered, as he chooses to talk about sandwiches, whilst
remarking that he is, “speaking of the Science of Life”.
Secondly, Algernon and Jack Worthing are worrying about the town and
the country. Algernon asks Jack why he is in the country, when, as
Jack would think, town is the ‘in’ and elite place to be.
Jack, says truthfully responding, “When one is in town one amuses
oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people.”
This idea is stupid as they just speak in a complicated manner. The
Some say that Hemingway’s personal life should disqualify him from the literature canon. They state that his torrent affairs, his alcoholism, and his mental state should preclude him from entry into the canon. These are the very things that help to make Hemingway a unique writer. Although his genre is fiction, he relies on his real life experiences with the people and places that he visited. ...
surprising thing is that they both understand each other!
In addition, both Jack and Algernon have made false characters. Jack
has “invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest” and
Algernon has “invented an invaluable permanent invalid called
According to Jack, his name is not suitable for both the town and the
country. Algenon and Jack, therefore, live as they please, through
telling white lies.
Wilde is able to develop his humour because the plot is completely
ridiculous. Jack’s position in the play is completely spontaneous.
He was “Found!” in “A Hand-bag?” in “The cloak-room at Victoria
Station?” by “The late Mr Thomas Cardew”. Jack (or should I say
Ernest) “must get married at once” to Gwendolen.
Unfortunately, Lady Bracknell, the mother of Gwendolen, aunt of
Algernon, disagrees with the marriage after Jack fails her test of
becoming on her “list of eligible young men” for her daughter to
marry. Algernon visits the country house in Shropshire, where Cecily,
Miss Prism and Meriman are, but, he does not pretend to be his false
country friend, Bunberry. He decides to call himself Ernest. Ernest is
the same name as Jack’s false town name.
The Algernon Ernest gets engaged to Cecily when he waits to find out
that they “have been engaged for the last three months”.
Gwendolen arrives at the Shropshire country house, and she has a
conversation in the garden with Cecily. The start of their
conversation hopes that they “are going to be great friends.”
The argument between Gwendolen and Cecily commences when Ernest
Worthing is mentioned into their conversation. They both think they
are engaged to Ernest.
Until both men arrive back to the country house and then the women
both find out that none of the men are actually called Ernest.
At the end of the story, we find out that Miss Prism put Jack in the
handbag, and his real name is revealed to be “Ernest!”
The play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is full of irony. Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, the protagonists in the play, get themselves into a complicated situation called Bunburyism (as Algernon refers to it). They pretend to be someone that they are not to escape their daily lives. They lie to the women they admire and eventually the truth is unveiled. The irony comes into ...
Furthermore, Wilde enjoys satirising Society mothers through the
character of Lady Bracknell. Firstly, Lady Bracknell is a very
controlling mother. “In the carriage, Gwendolen!” You would not want
to argue with Lady Bracknell or get on her ‘bad’ side. If a task, job,
chore or errand has been assigned to you, arguing is not possible. It
will leave you and Lady Bracknell not in a good mood. For a personal
opinion, do as you are told! Secondly, Lady Bracknell is very
concerned with social status as a woman and as a mother. “I and Lord
Bracknell would not dream of allowing our only daughter – a girl
brought up with the utmost care to marry into a cloakroom and form an
alliance with a parcel!” Lady Bracknell has a reputation of being
elite. She feels that her daughter has been given the highest level of
parenting as an upbringing. She does not want Society to find out that
he daughter is getting married to a man left in a handbag in Victoria
Thirdly, Lady Bracknell is a snob, and overprotective as a mother.
“You are not down on my list of eligible young men.” Lady Bracknell
must have the best for her daughter. By keeping a list of eligible
men, her daughter must marry a suitable gentleman with the standards
of superiority, wealthy and of course, having parents of the
Aristocracy. In addition, Lady Bracknell has her views on engagements
for marriage. “I am not in favour of long engagements. They give
people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before
marriage, which I think is never advisable.” Lady Bracknell does
decide to get her ‘nose’ into everyone’s business, especially
marriage. In her opinion, her comments are always necessary.
Her snobbery is already shown, just by looking at this picture. The
clothes and jewellery she wears must be very expensive!
Lady Bracknell from the recent movie of The Importance of Being
Clearly, Wilde particularly mocks the obsession which his characters
The relationship between parents and their children is one of the most basic human interactions. Mothers and daughters provide both physical and emotional care for their young sons and daughters. In the process, parents will instill children with family values and goals, while teaching them the accepted norms and values of society. This is done in hope that parents will one day see their own ...
have with money and social status. Lady Bracknell is very interested
in finding out the wealth and status of people. She asks Jack
Worthing, Cecily Cardew’s guardian about her wealth. “I had better ask
you if Miss Cardew has any little fortune?” Upon the answer being “A
Hundred and Thirty thousand pounds in the funds,” Lady Bracknell
immediately changes her perspective of Cecily, and is interested in
the girl with a lot of money. Lady Bracknell also says: “Few girls of
the present day have any really solid qualities.” She is actually
referring to ‘Few girls of the present day have any really solid
This proves that Lady Bracknell only is interested in people that are
Wilde includes humour in his plays.
His techniques include: Play on words (puns), reversing popular
sayings, mocks marriage and Aristocracy, reverses expectations,
satirising women, plots are based on ridiculous, satirising snobbery
Examples of this humour are: “Produce your explanation and pray make
it improbable.” This changes the common phrase of ‘Produce your
explanation and pray make it probable’.
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” This changes the common
from of ‘The truth is pure and simple’.
“It is simple washing one’s own clean linen in public.” This is
changed from ‘It is simple washing one’s dirty linen in public’.