The Importance Of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde
Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854, Oscar Wilde was exposed to the worlds of medicine and culture by his successful parents while studying the classics and reading The Grapes during college he joined artistic and literary movements. He became known for his writing especially his poems, plays, and Soul novel during the late 19th century. After being imprisoned for his lifestyle choices Wilde succumbed to illness in 1900.
Wilde was already at the peak of his success when he wrote The Importance of Being Earnest, featuring elements of farce through its exaggerated and unlikely situations. This comedy of manners also parodies social classes in a witty and intellectual way. This play was written in Wotring, England in 1894. The Importance of Being Earnest, moves between the urban city vibe of London and the more natural country atmosphere of Hertfordshire, during the mid-1890s. However, those setting are not meant to contrast each other. Wilde uses both locations to mock late Victorian high society and its social customs.
The play revolves around two friends named John and Algernon, who attempt to avoid their social obligations by pretending to be a made-up person named Earnest. In love with a woman named Gwendolen, John as Earnest proposes to her, but the marriage is forbidden due to his low birth. Algernon as Earnest then proposes to the heiress named Cecily, whom Jack is legally bound to protect. After several confusing and hilarious situations, the truth is revealed the two men are brothers and John’s birth name is Earnest. This means the two couples can be together at last.
The play discusses how lying to get out of one’s duties can quickly get out of control and how truth and honestly ultimately win out. It also explores how reputation and social class affect the relationship as well as the significance of love and marriage. Though foolishness can bring humor to our lives it’s also important to know to be sincere and Earnest. In this way, Wilde is making light of the obsessions and faults of the Victorian upper class.
Social conventions, love, language, and reversal are the most important theme in Oscar Wilde’s iconic play, The Importance of Being Earnest. The play satirizes social conventions about class, relationship, acceptable behavior, and art. At time satire is broad as in act III, when Lady Bracknell suddenly realizes Cecily as extremely solid qualities, as soon as she the girl as considerable fortune. Landy Bracknell remarks the way, people’s opinion of characters can change ones they learn someone is rich. At another time the satire of social conventions is more subtle like when Jack says, “some answer to all, some answer not to all.” that is the matter that surely maybe decide for herself. The joke satirizes the social convention of free choice. The plot of this play challenges the social conventions that people choose freely in love or other matter.
Love or desire for it drives many of the play’s characters, and while love may be essential to Oscar Wilde’s universe, he presents a version that is shallow in superficial. Wilde characters fall in love based on shallowness often based on wealth or physical attractiveness alone. Structurally, the play is a romantic comedy. One couple Jack and Gwendolen, how are already in love, must overcome obstacles to their marriage. While another couple Algernon and Cecily, meet, fall in love and then overcome obstacles to their marriage. The speed with which love develops in this play is the part of the comedy and part of Wilde satire romance, as is which obstacles to love are waved away when the mood is right.
Language is central to this play, its power, its flexibility, its longevity, and the shared joy can produce speakers to this theme. One credit famously argued that in this play Oscar Wilde Creates “a verbal universe” in which language is used to translate life itself “into an aesthetic phenomenon.’ Wilde uses a range of linguistic techniques to create humor and especially juxtaposing something with its opposite. Gwendolen provides a good example with this technique when she tells Jack “if you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.” The title of the play is hovering over all its actions. There is a continual tension between being Earnest and “being Earnest.” Wilde maintains this tension throughout the play. Resolving it only in the end when Jack is revealed as Earnest and realizes the importance of being Earnest.
Finally, The Importance of Being Earnest uses the principle of reversal to satirize Victorian conventions. Nearly all the main characters express the idea that reverses both social norms and common sense, by expressing this ideal as if they were widely knowing truths. Characters change their opinion, names, personal histories and families, and beliefs. These reversals create logical paradoxes that come with the territory of the madcap, love, lust and courtship.
The Importance of Being Earnest is considered a well-made play and thanks to its humor and dialogue it’s considered one of Wilde’s finest literary achievements. The play’s popularity has influenced people to adapt it to the radio, opera, and television. When it comes to big-screen versions the 1952 film has been praised for its closeness to the play and it’s acting. Fifty years later audiences were entertained by the Oliver Parker directed adaptations, starring Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth and more.