The title of the book seems to emphasize the word “Earnest” by describing it as something important. After reading through the play by Oscar Wilde, the title seems to perfectly match with the content and plot described in the book, since it shows the irony behind the title of the importance of being earnest, and the made-up character “Ernest” himself. Jack’s double, Ernest, is a made up character who Jack can transform into in order to be another version of himself. When Jack is residing in the countryside at his manor in Hertfordshire, he is Jack, his true identity, but when his is in town in London, he transforms into his brother who is named Ernest. Gwendolen and Cecily, two young ladies that fell in love with Ernest, seem to be only in love with this character because of his “name”. Even at the end of the book when Gwendolen found out that Jack’s real name wasn’t Ernest, she didn’t want him for a small period of time because his name wasn’t Ernest, upsetting her. At the end of the Act 3, when Jack got introduced to his name, Ernest, which was a name given to him all along, Gwendolen seemed to have forgiven him in an instant since his name was Ernest after all, and she knew she would only fall in love with a man named Ernest. This imaginative character symbolizes the small value of respect that the Victorian Society shows for ideals such as honesty, responsibility, and compassion. Instead, ideals such as class, money, and status within the hierarchy of society seem
In the book the word earnest is being used as a pun by the character Jack Worthing. Although the word earnest means to be truthful, Jack is doing the exact opposite by using the name Earnest, pretending to be his little brother. No one in the play seems to truly be earnest, as even Algernon pretends to be his non existent friend, Bunbury. The significance of “being earnest” is that both Algernon and Jack’s loves had their minds set on getting married to a man named Earnest. “Being Earnest” was especially important to Jack because it was his birthright.
In The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde revealed that animalistic traits can tint a character’s intellectual attributes. All of the characters possess an overwhelming desire which seems to diminish their morality. Wilde uses Jack Worthing’s animalistic behaviors to reveal that his animal self is damaging his intellectual self. The play is presented to show that the characters retain an exaggerated pleasure with food, which shows their pleasures in inanimate objects. Every character in the play is drawn into lustful relationships, thus mutilating their psychological self. By embracing their animalistic traits the characters in The Importance of Being Earnest begin to blemish their intellectual character which inhibits their overall
Oscar Wilde’s play entitled “The Importance of Being Earnest” illustrates the concept of dual personality, fantasy, love, and lies. Jack, Algernon, Gwendolyn, and Cecily all live in lies. They are manipulated by their fantasies and desire for perfect relationship and love. Jack, the protagonist in the play, is the root of lies because of his imaginary brother named Earnest. Algernon uses the name to win Cecily, while Gwendolyn and Cecily are both fascinated by this name because it expresses strength and perfection of manhood. Due to their search and desire to have Earnest, the male and female characters escape from the reality. Therefore, Wilde in The Importance of Being Earnest portrays a gender doubled
Act III offers happy resolution to the problems of identity and marriage that drive much of the humor in the previous acts. Wilde continues to mock the social customs and attitudes of the aristocratic class. He relentlessly attacks their values, views on marriage and respectability, sexual attitudes, and concern for stability in the social structure.
insinuates the importance of being honest and truthful, while playing on the male name, Ernest. The pun in the title is a case in point. The earnest/Ernest joke strikes at the very heart of Victorian notions of respectability and duty. Gwendolen wants to marry a man called Ernest, and she doesn’t care whether the man actually possesses the qualities that comprise earnestness. She is, after all, quick to forgive Jack’s deception. In embodying a man who is initially neither
Throughout much of the play and especially the beginning, Wilde satirizes the setting in which both the characters as well as his audience live in. This satirization specifically requires that the audience be thoughtful whenever Wilde makes a joke, resulting in the thoughtful laughter which makes a true comedy. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is set during the late 20th century in Britain, a time period known as the Victorian Era, in which the British Empire was at its absolute peak. The dominance of Britain in world affairs resulted in a sense of
The Importance of Being Earnest is about a man named Jack Worthing who works several jobs in his town servicing other people. For many years, Jack has pretended to have a brother named Ernest who is supposedly off living a life on the edge on the pursuit of happiness, while managing to get into constant trouble. What Jack’s community doesn’t know, is that Ernest is just a made up person whom Jack uses as an excuse to leave work anytime he wants and to visit his lover Gwendolen. In the beginning, no one else knows that Ernest is actually Jack’s secret identity, until later in the play when Jack meets Algernon, who becomes
The play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde is set in England during the late 19th century during the rule of Queen Victoria and features two bachelors, Algernon Moncrieff and John Worthing, and their struggle to impress the women they want to marry while remaining their true selves. Wilde presents the theme of superficiality through the approach to names in the play and the importance of appearances. (or looks? Gwen and Cecily fight plus dandy).
Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest (.1993.) is an enlightening epitome of social class in the Victorian era. The satire is driven by the frivolous behaviour, superficial lives and artificial norms within the Victorian aristocracy. Incorporating his own opinion into the play, Wilde continually attacked and mocked their hypocrisy, views on marriage, and their mannerisms. Throughout the play, Wilde used an abundant range of literary techniques to reinforce his opinion. Irony, paradox and hyperboles, as well as witty epigrams and aphorisms were used astutely and were ubiquitous throughout the play. This contributed to the satirical style and tone of the text, and enabled Wilde to effectively communicate his critical perspective on social class in Victorian England.
Oscar Wilde's, "The Importance of Being Earnest" revolves around the dichotomy of the true definition of honesty versus the victorian definition of honesty. It is apparent that Wilde's opinion is that true honesty is expressed through being genuine to one's self as opposed to putting on a front as is important in victorian ideals. In this work, Wilde uses humor to off-set the seriousness of the theme of the story. One who has studied this work can also clearly see that Wilde is using sarcasm to say things that would not have been accepted by society if they were said bluntly. For example he exemplifies in a very sarcastic manner the hypocracy that victorian society represents by the very fact that they pretend to uphold honesty above all
AThe Importance of Being Earnest a play written by Oscar Wilde is set in England in the late Victorian era. Wilde uses obvious situational and dramatic irony within the play to satirize his time period. According to Roger Sale in Being Ernest the title has a double meaning to it and is certainly another example of satire used by Wilde. With a comedic approach, Wilde ridicules the absurdities of the character’s courtship rituals, their false faces, and their secrets. (Sale, 478)
The audience would be left to wonder whether Oscar Wilde purposefully used “Ernest” and “Earnest” interchangeably. The double meaning of the word coincides with the theme of social deception rampant in the upper class Victorian British society. This can be seen in Act 3, in one of the final scenes when Jack’s hidden identity is revealed as he flips through a military directory. The unexpected reversal in the plot resolution creates irony as there has been an accidental accuracy to what Jack has stated throughout the play. Through this, deception itself has been deceived. The added layers of comic relief in the scene may have made the satirical comedy more light-hearted for the audience, but it could have shielded Wildes purpose of criticizing
The Importance of Being Earnest appears to be a conventional 19th century farce. False identities, prohibited engagements, domineering mothers, lost children are typical of almost every farce. However, this is only on the surface in Wilde's play. His parody works at two levels- on the one hand he ridicules the manners of the high society and on the other he satirises the human condition in general. The characters in The Importance of Being Earnest assume false identities in order to achieve their goals but do not interfere with the others' lives. The double life led by Algernon, Jack, and Cecily (through her diary) is simply another means by which they liberate
Oscar Wilde’s protagonist, Jack Worthing, carries on two distinct identities throughout the play. One of the personas is a countryman in Hertfordshire named Jack Worthing, and the other is a dandy in London named Ernest. Wilde intentionally creates two different characters, which are contradictory to the reader’s expectation whenever they first read the characters’ names. The name Ernest correlates with the actual definition of the adjective earnest, which means a person who is honest, serious, and sincere. Later in the play, Jack realizes his name is actually John, however both have the same connotation. Gwendolyn states in the first act, “there is very little music in the name Jack… I’ve known several Jacks, and they all without exception were more than usually plain” (Wilde 25). Evidently, in the Victorian Era, a man with the name Jack or John was expected to be plain or a man who is not a dandy, but an ordinary man who has responsibilities. The names Wilde gave to his characters seem to be appropriate, however, once the reader dissects the play, the names Jack and Ernest would have been better applied to their counterparts.
The dramatic ironies in “The Importance of Being Earnest” add to the humor of the play. At the very start of the play, the readers only have limited information about the characters. When Jack visits Algernon in his house, the readers are taken along not knowing any knowledge of the events beforehand. They learn along with Algernon that Jack has a make believe brother whose name is Ernest, and Jack uses Ernest in order to get out of many situations as well as an excuse to not be a proper gentleman at times. Algernon learns that Jack’s real name is not Ernest, but that it is really Jack. However, the readers are given the privilege of knowing Jack’s true name from the very beginning. Then Algernon confesses to his “bunburying,” which is essentially the fact that he has a made up friend who is ill in order that Algernon can use him as an excuse to free himself from unpleasant social scenes. The action continues when Jack becomes engaged to Gwendolen under the false pretenses of the name Ernest. Skipping forward, Algernon visits Jack’s niece, Cecily, at Jack’s house in the countryside. Here is one of the first instances of dramatic ironies. Algernon introduces himself to Cecily as Ernest, Jack’s younger wild brother. The readers know that he is not, and that Ernest is made up in the first place. This creates humor due to the suspension it builds. The reader anticipates when Cecily will find out the truth, and how it will affect her. The plot thickens when Jack announces to Canon Chasuble that his brother Ernest is dead, while at the same time Algernon is pretending to be Ernest at Jack’s home. Once again this creates suspension because the reader has