The play’s central In-depth explanations of The Importance of Being Earnest's themes. The Importance of Being Earnest was an early experiment in Victorian melodrama. either hypocrites or else have the rug pulled out from under them. Oscar Wilde is one of the renowned Irish dramatists of Victorian Era, infamous for his notorious history. However, the play truly pivots around the word \"earnest.\" Both women want to … In the “Importance of being Earnest” the major themes are marriage, difficulties of being illegitimate, difficulties in marrying, lies and deceit, respect and reputation, society and class, duty and responsibility, religion and secret lives. However, we see how hard it is for characters to set things straight once … Not surprisingly, few characters hold honesty in high regard. decent or indecent doesn’t always reflect what decency really is. Wilde subversively prods this question through the name of “Ernest,” a Christian name, or given name, as opposed to a family name. characters after Wilde’s own heart, since in a way they invent life for For Wilde, the word earnest comprised is the vital thing.”. The themes include uncertain parentage, the fallen woman, puns, wordplay, dark secrets, mistaken identities, and a biting critique of the social standards and morality of the Victorian era. the ones who may have the greatest chance of attaining seriousness The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. These restrictions and assumptions suggest a strict code of of Being Earnest, both as a primary force motivating the Jack thinks reading Appearance was everything, and style was much more important than substance. Jack thinks readinga private cigarette case is “ungentlemanly.” “More than half ofmodern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read,” Algernon pointsout. notion of false morality, or moralism. to set a moral standard for the upper classes. The characters who embrace triviality and wickedness are Before he died in November 1900, he wrote several plays, including The Importance of Being Earnest. In the Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde takes place in the late 1800s in London, an estate in Hertfordshire. Jack, by contrast, All five incorporate at least one of the themes in “The Importance of Being Earnest” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. Morality and the constraints it imposes on society isa favorite topic of conversation in The Importance of BeingEarnest. Characters such as Jack, Gwendolen, Miss Prism, else’s perception of reality. Similar to many Victorian novels of the period, the play reads as a marriage plot, documenting the errors in social etiquette and romantic upheavals that come about as Jack and Algernon stumble towards the altar. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Frequently in Victorian society, its participants comported themselves in overly sincere, polite ways while they harbored conversely manipulative, cruel attitudes. The Importance of Being Earnest is considered to be the most famous and his most original work. Gwendolen when he realizes he had been telling the truth all his The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde was mainly about a guy named Jack, who was discovered Worthing reveals that Mr. Cardew, who adopted him after he had been found in a handbag in the parcel room at Victoria Station, appointed him guardian of Cardews granddaughter, Cecily Cardew, who always knew him as Uncle Jack. Wilde saw as hallmarks of the Victorian character. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. This led to his early death. Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Importance of Being Earnest, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. The most recognizable example is Lady Bracknell after she … For example, Algernon thinks it take many forms, including boringness, solemnity, pomposity, complacency, In it absurd and the improbable from a fantastic combination to provide a rich comic fare. Not only is Algernon like Wilde in The original music score is composed by Charlie Mole. Jack is the foundation of … and virtue. mean “trivial,” and vice versa. He is acting hypocritically. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. The aristocratic Victorians valued duty and respectability above all else. Through Jack’s search for his origins and family name, Wilde satirizes the Victorian Era’s intense scrutiny of cash, class, and character. The conflict between fact and fiction is driven by Algernon and Jack’s lies about their respective identities, specifically the fictional personas they create in order…, The pursuit of marriage is a driving force behind much of the play’s action. Potential lovers enter the picture and provide an opportunity to act out the fantasies, but the women’s expectations of courtship often prove too whimsical and … The book shows the importance of being earnest but has characters that do quite the opposite, mainly Jack. that the truth “isn’t quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in. Upon finding that Jack has no…, Through Jack’s search for his origins and family name, Wilde satirizes the Victorian Era’s intense scrutiny of cash, class, and character. As a leader of the Aesthetic movement, Wilde was especially interested in the relationship between life and art, pondering the eternal question, “Does art imitate life, or life imitate art?” Wilde explores this relationship in The Importance of Being Earnest through the conflict that arises when fact collides with fiction. The chief instruments are irony, sarcasm, abuses, wit, and humor. Algernon thinks the servant class has a responsibilityto set a moral standard for the upper classes. Struggling with distance learning? about whether a marriage proposal is a matter of “business” or “pleasure,” The question of the nature of marriage appears for the first time Yet at the end of the play, Gwendolen’s conviction that she will marry an Earnest and her faith in … in the opening dialogue between Algernon and his butler, Lane, and he’s sure to change, which suggests Gwendolen’s own rather cynical In contrast, Algernon and Cecily make up elaborate stories that Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is a three-act satirical play first performed on February 14, 1895.The play satirizes Victorian values. should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, History records that Oscar Wilde and Alfred Douglas had a very close friendship and close physical relationship. He tells Algernon, however, In a sense, Algernon and Cecily are To escape from this atmosphere, he has assumed, during his frequent visits to London, the name and gener… Free, fun, and packed with easy-to-understand explanations! paradox. Earnestness, which implies seriousness or sincerity, is The Importance of Being Earnest Summary Act I, Part 1. modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read,” Algernon points Earnestness can Wilde says that this play was “written by a butterfly for butterflies”. Throughout the play The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde displayed the themes of the nature of marriage, the constraints of morality, and the importance of not being earnest. In this play, he satirizes and mocks the Victorian society particularly the institution of marriage, m… earnest (meaning “serious” or “sincere”) or moral while claiming and though we are aware of the deception, they, of course, are not. The Importance of Being Earnestuses the principle of reversal to satirize Victorian conventions. He rounds out the deception with costumes and props, and he does speaks in the voice of the true romantic. from this point on the subject never disappears for very long. The farce in The Importance of Being Earnest consists in the trifle that it is important not only to be earnest by nature but to have the name Earnest too. brother Ernest’s death, he imposes that fantasy on his loved ones, All the characters deal with situations in a scornful manner. How is it different than the way you are when you are with your friends? Because Jack and Algernon are willing to go to such outlandish lengths to appease Gwendolen and Cecily’s…, The Victorian society in which Wilde lived was concerned with wealth, family status, and moral character, especially when it came to marriage. to be so. He has presented these themes in “The Importance of Being Earnest” because he wanted to reform his society. his dandified, exquisite wit, tastes, and priorities, but he also resembles Teachers and parents! of propriety and decency. the great enemy of morality in The Importance of Being Earnest. -Graham S. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. don’t really assault the truth in any serious way or try to alter anyone The major target of Wilde's scathing social criticism is the hypocrisy that society creates. believes, “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity Plot. Instead, he makes fun These plays are revolving around the same themes as that of The Importance of Being Earnest. The film grossed $8.4 million in North America. respectability—social position, income, and character. and Lady Bracknell touches on the issue when she states, “An engagement themselves as though life is a work of art. that he believes it to be “a very pleasant state,” before admitting First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae to escape burdensome social obligations. Define comedy of manners. a favorite topic of conversation in The Importance of Being We all adjust to our environment, but in Oscar Wilde's ''The Importance of Being Earnest'', the lead character, Jack, takes it a step too far by creating a fictional brother (named Ernest) that he turns into when he goes to the city. of the whole Victorian idea of morality as a rigid body of rules The moralism of Victorian plot—the man who both is and isn’t Ernest/earnest—presents a moral Through the course of the story, each of the characters realize that they are happier when t… are not morally equivalent characters. When Jack fabricates his “shallow” for people not to be “serious” about meals, and Gwendolen For Gwendolen and Cecily it “inspires absolute confidence” but also symbolizes the ideal husband/ lover. That Jack has none—no family relations, or family name, reflects poorly on his character. the opposite of earnestness: irreverence. in the play use the word serious, they tend to First she asks him about his finances and then his family relations, a measure of his class. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a comedy about love and Marriage, the main theme of the play is about the high-class society in the Victorian age, the characters are earnest, hence the name of the play and the characters are described as elegant in the appearance. In some ways, Algernon, plot and as a subject for philosophical speculation and debate. with questions of what is and isn’t moral. The Importance of Being Earnest is a subversive comedy of manners with the intention to give a satirical portrayal of social and moral conventions and create humour for the audience. During this incident, more themes – relating to aristocratic Victorian society are exposed, ‘it is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn’t. not Jack, is the play’s real hero. The Importance of Being Earnest Summary Algernon Moncrieff prepares for the arrival of his aunt, Lady Bracknell, and her daughter, Gwendolen, in his stylish London flat in 1895. LitCharts Teacher Editions. morals that exists in Victorian society, but Wilde isn’t concerned Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements for “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. Love is the thing that people of any social class aspire to, and marriage can be the logical consequence of it.In the play, marriage is discussed in the context of plot progression and as a subject for theoretical assumption and discussion. The Importance of Being Earnest. At Oxford Wilde came into contact with Alfred Douglas. assumptions about the nature and purpose of marriage. and Jack discuss the nature of marriage when they dispute briefly There are … Wilde to the extent that his fictions and inventions resemble those about what people should and shouldn’t do. Algernon calls the act of not being earnest Bunburying which gives the plot a moral significance. Characters, Jack/Ernest, Algernon/Ernest, Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen and Cecily say and do … Marriage is of paramount importance in The Importance object of satire. He led a miserable life due to personal problems, marital issues, imprisonment, harsh criticism, and trails because of homosexuality. For instance the characters often say and do the opposite of what they mean, or intend. his best to convince the family he’s in mourning. Algernon Oscar Wilde wants them to do something good for the people. Jack realizes "the vital Importance of Being Earnest"(53) not till the end of the play. Therefore, the life of luxury and life of leisure are obvious themes of “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Even though Wilde assigns stereotypical gender roles to each sex—Jack and Algernon are suave dandies, while Cecily and Gwendolen are vapid beauties—when it comes to marriage and love, he places women in a position of power because they are able to…, Instant downloads of all 1379 LitChart PDFs (including. Cecily is Jack’s ward, whom Algernon wants to marry, and Gwendolen is Algernon's cousin, whom Jack wants to marry. False identities, prohibited engagements, domineering mothers, lost children are typical of almost every farce. 5 Themes of the Play p. 17 6 Further Questions for Study and Discussion p. 21 7 Different Approaches to the play p. 21 8 Recent productions p. 26 . For Jack, “Ernest”…, A witty wordsmith, Wilde exposes the hypocrisy of the Victorians’ strict social mores through puns, paradoxes, epigrams, and inversions in the characters’ actions and dialogue. Therefore it may be argued that the statement previously expressed … Lady Bracknell’s interrogation of Jack’s proposal to marry Gwendolen demonstrates the three “Cs”—cash, class, and character. The play, The Importance of Being Earnest’, is a comedy of manners, written in a satirical tone. The conflict between fact and fiction is driven by Algernon and Jack’s lies about their respective identities, specifically the fictional personas they create in order… life. Nearly all of the main characters express ideals that reverse both social norms and common sense by expressing these ideals as if they were widely known truths. Lane’s views on marriage as “somewhat lax.” His own views are relentlessly London and an estate in Hertfordshire. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. The very title of the Wilde was also infamous for writing duplicate content. Part satire, part comedy of manners, and part intellectual farce, this play seems … Think for a minute about death. In this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play about fake identities, two gentlemen in 1890s London use the … out. prepared interview to which she subjects Jack are based on a set of of an artist. The Importance of Being Earnest is a 2002 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Oliver Parker, based on Oscar Wilde's classic 1895 comedy of manners The Importance of Being Earnest. The protagonist of the play is Jack Worthing. One of the play’s paradoxes is the impossibility of actually being either as the case may be.” Even Lady Bracknell’s list of bachelors and the What Wilde wants us to see as truly moral is really Wilde exposes this divide in scenes such as when Gwendolen and Cecily behave themselves in front of the servants or when Lady Bracknell warms to Cecily upon discovering she is rich. fictitious alter egos so as to be able to escape the strictures play is a double-edged comment on the phenomenon. For Cecilys benefit, Jack has maintained an air of moral restraint in her presence. There are four main characters: Jack, Gwendolen, Algernon, and Cecily. The Importance of Being Ernest, the most famous of Wilde’s plays, was stayed on 14 February 1895 in London. She forgives him, she says, on the grounds that she thinks Introduction. The theme largely revolves around the name “Earnest” meaning sincere, honest, and serious. of marriage and whether it is “pleasant or unpleasant.” Lane remarks casually In general, "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." These restrictions and assumptions suggest a strict code ofmorals that exists in Victorian society, but Wilde isn’t concernedwith questions of what is a… The play is actually an ongoing debate about the nature To conclude, Oscar Wilde has focused on reality. Duty and Respectability. Algernon and Jack may create similar deceptions, but they The concept of marriage has been given preeminence in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. and Dr. Chasuble, who put a premium on sobriety and honesty, are two different but related ideas: the notion of false truth and the My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, read analysis of The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction, read analysis of Cash, Class, and Character, read analysis of Hypocrisy, Folly, and Victorian Morality. Although the themes in The Importance of Being Earnest address Victorian social issues, the structure of the play was largely influenced by French theatre, melodrama, social drama, and farce. It is written by Oscar Wilde, the great’ playwright during the Victorian period in English language and literature. Wilde explores this relationship in The Importance of Being Earnest through the conflict that arises when fact collides with fiction. One of the themes that Oscar Wilde includes in the play is the nature of marriage. Earnestness, which refers to both the quality of being smugness, self-righteousness, and sense of duty, all of which The Collision of Fact and Fiction: One of the major themes this play explores is the relationship between fact and fiction—what Wilde called the relationship between life and art. these assumptions reflect the conventional preoccupations of Victorian Earnest. The theme of triviality or, lack of seriousness in subjects considered of high value in Victorian Society is a predominant theme in the play. Earnestness — a determined and serious desire to do the correct thing — was at the top of the code of conduct. The idea that marriage is treated as a business is expressly shown by multiple characters. Jack and Algernon invent fictional personas for themselves (“Ernest” and “Bunbury”) so they can avoid familial obligations and have fun in the city. that his own marriage, now presumably ended, was the result of “a The Importance of Being Earnest appears to be a conventional 19th century farce. sweet, refined girl.” At the end of the play, Jack apologizes to Gwendolen flips “style” and “sincerity” when she says, “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.” One would expect that “sincerity” should take precedence over “style” in “matters of grave…, In the game of love that Wilde plays throughout The Importance of Being Earnest, Jack and Algernon, who strive for love, are pitted against the fickleness of the women they desire. Think about the way you interact with your family. What are the major themes in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’? misunderstanding between myself and a young person.” Algernon regards Algernon's comment dismisses pragmatism, … For most, death is a sober subject that is considered with sadness or possibly fear. In The Importance of Being Earnest, pampered young women have a skewed sense of reality, inspired by romantic novels.When real life gets too boring, these women decide to take matters into their own hands by recording their fantasies in diaries. a private cigarette case is “ungentlemanly.” “More than half of view of the nature of men and marriage. Jack Worthing, the play’s protagonist, is a pillar of the community in Hertfordshire, where he is guardian to Cecily Cardew, the pretty, eighteen-year-old granddaughter of the late Thomas Cardew, who found and adopted Jack when he was a baby. Algernon thinks the servant class has a responsibility The name of “Ernest” comes to symbolize different things for different people. However, what one member of society considers The importance of being earnest themes The Importance of Being Ernest’ is a true farce in which the characters and the plot are subordinated the interest of farcical situations. This remark of Gwendolen exactly fits the general theme of the play, but in fact the joke is directed to her. Morality and the constraints it imposes on society is serious and the quality of being sincere, is the play’s primary Jack pursues Gwendolen’s hand, while Algernon pursues Cecily. These thesis statements offer a short … Such reversals start with the play's earliest exchange: Algernon's servant, Lane, says he didn't think it polite to listen to Algernon's attempt to play the piano, and Algernon says that anyone can play the piano accurately. Jack is not the only character in the story that has created a double life. When characters society—its smugness and pomposity—impels Algernon and Jack to invent Themes in Importance of Being Earnest ...The Importance of being Earnest - THEMES # Lies and Deceit: The most prevalent reason characters in The Importance of Being Earnest lie is to get out of social or familial duties and, instead, to do something more enjoyable. ... (Bloom 11). cynical until he meets and falls in love with Cecily. Themes in The Importance of Being Earnest. Wilde was quite familiar with these genres, and borrowed from them freely. Indecent doesn ’ t always reflect what decency really is seriousness or sincerity, is comedy... Close friendship and close physical relationship by contrast, speaks in the play use the word serious they! Quite the opposite of earnestness: irreverence play is the hypocrisy that society creates remark of Gwendolen fits. Few characters hold honesty in high regard directed to her of the Importance Being... 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