The Importance of Being Earnest

"My dear fellow, the way you flirt with Gwendolen is perfectly disgraceful. "It is almost as bad as the way Gwendolen flirts with you." -Algernon (I.35)

I find this quote interesting because it discussing the morals and rights of the social society in London at that time. I’m not surprised that they were this conservative but they were very strict. I do not think I could live in this time period.

"On the contrary Aunt Augusta I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest." (Act 3 - Jack)

This is such a powerful passage. I really like this because it shows that Jack has finally come to the conclusion that he cannot live a double life any more and needs to start being more serious with his life. He needs to come to reality and grasp the fact that he only has one life to live; and that is his.

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does this. That’s his" (Act 1 - Algernon)

I particular like this quote in a way. It describes to me that every daughter is going to be in the essence of their mom which is true in a way (and very true with Gwendolen and her mother.) It is saddening a little because men can’t have this connection in common with their mothers.

"I’ll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister. Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first." (Act 1 - Jack)

I thought this passage was a little hopeful in a sense that they might get along in the near future and get past their differences. Yet, this passage is quite ironic because in the future they are actually screaming at each other. It is funny in a way because things happen in the complete opposite direction.

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." (Act 3 - Gwendolen)

I thought this quote was intriguing. I think it is a good idea to have your diary to jot down your daily adventures, worries, and dreams. This appeared to be quite funny to me just by the way she says her diary is a great read and entertaining.

Essay

Malia Norfleet

English 4 DC

Mrs. Rebeske

March 28, 2013

Prompt:

            1978. Choose an implausible or strikingly unrealistic incident or character in a work of fiction or drama of recognized literary merit. Write an essay that explains how the incident or character is related to the more realistic of plausible elements in the rest of the work. Avoid plot summary.

Essay:

            In Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, there are certain aspects in the work that can be described implausible or strikingly unrealistic. These aspects include two characters in the play that are obviously apparent but not a coherent being in reality.  No matter how supernatural or unimaginable a certain being is their representation and contributions to the more realistic of plausible elements in the rest of the work is the same.  The first, Ernest, is the main focus on the minds of the characters throughout the play and is constantly reoccurring. The second, Bunbury, is not as frequently mentioned but is an important element in the theme and characters of the story.  The characters in this piece are related to the more practicable parts by their effects on the characters, them increasing of the plot, and influencing the overall theme of the work.

            Ernest is a made-up identity by Jack Worthing as his rebellious, mischievous younger brother at times to escape from the responsibilities and society of Hertfordshire to go off to London. He also is called Ernest in London while he is there indulging in the same behavioral acts that he pretends to disapprove of his brother. Worthing character that he fused into the minds of the people in London and Hertfordshire lets him journey away from the tolls and hardships of his daily life to a place where he can act in a way that will not affect him because he is playing a character; or so he thinks. These acts reveal Worthing as hypocritical and condescending due to the fact that he is participating in the very same actions that he proclaims he is against in real life. As the play progresses, his alternative self begins to cause an increasing chaos in the plot and confusion in the characters. When he wants to change his life for the better, he starts to come to the conclusion that he must reveal his other identity in order to save the future that he so longs to be a reality. In the end, his alter ego causes him to find out what he truly wants in life and understand who he truly is.

       Bunbury is Algernon’s imaginary friend that he made up himself to reprieve himself from his actual life. He is always being called to Bunbury’s deathbed which causes him to have an excuse to leave his tiresome and distasteful social obligations. Bunbury provides him a way to indulge himself just like Worthing’s brother does for him but his excuse alludes to him dealing with a serious issue and helping his mate. Algernon describes himself as a “Bunburyist” to which he openly states he has a problem with his system of wrong doings with his make-believe character. He knows he is doing wrong but Worthing won’t admit to his social crimes until the very last possible second. Bunbury helps Algernon know he should stop what he is doing and convinces Worthing that he should confess in the long run to everyone that he has been lying to them. This helps the sense of morality in the play because it increases the two characters’ conscience about how their secret lives should be brought into the light and given up.

            In Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, there are implausible or strikingly unrealistic aspects in the work. These two characters are known but not a true being in reality. The contributions of them to the more realistic elements in the rest of the work are the very effective regardless of their reality. The characters in this piece are related to the more practicable parts by their effects on the characters, them increasing of the plot, and influencing the overall theme of the work.

Wild about Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born as Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland to William Wilde and Jane Francesca Elgee. He had five siblings and was educated at institutions including Potora Royal School, Trinity College, and Magdalen College in Oxford. On may 29, 1884, Wilde married Constance Lloyd and soon after had two sons: Cyril and Vyvyan. However, when his literary success was at his peak he was involved in a long affair with a young man named Lord Aflred Douglas son of the Marquis of Queensbury. After trying to sue the Marquis for libel but later proven a homosexual in the case, Wilde was charged with “gross indecency” and sentenced to two years. During his time he published several acclaimed works including “Ravenn,” “Poems,” “The Happy Prince and Other Tales,” The Picture of Dorian Gray, “The House of Pomegranates,” Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest, and “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” after his release from prison describing his horrendous experiences. Oscar Wilde died November 30, 1900 on Paris, France by meningitis at the age of forty six. His witty, imaginative, and undeniably beautiful works are considered among the great literary masterpieces of the late Victorian period.

(Source: cmgww.com)

There have been multiple “made-for-television” versions of this world-wide admired play. The more noticed and recognizable adaptations are for the visual English-language cinema; which is at least three times. The first one was in 1952 by Anthony Asquith who adapted the screenplay and directed it. In 1992 Kurt Baker directed a version using an all black cast, set in the United States of America. An English director who had previously adapted other plays by Wilde, Oliver Parker, made a production in 2002 staring big name actors including Colin Firth (Jack), Rupert Everett (Algy), Reese Witherspoon (Cecily), and Frances O’Connor (Gwendolen).  Parker adds additional aspects of the movie that were in Wilde’s original play but left out by a previous producer. An Indian version of The Importance of Being Earnest in Telugu by the name “Ashta Chamma” was released in 2008 and was a critical and commercial success.

There have been multiple “made-for-television” versions of this world-wide admired play. The more noticed and recognizable adaptations are for the visual English-language cinema; which is at least three times. The first one was in 1952 by Anthony Asquith who adapted the screenplay and directed it. In 1992 Kurt Baker directed a version using an all black cast, set in the United States of America. An English director who had previously adapted other plays by Wilde, Oliver Parker, made a production in 2002 staring big name actors including Colin Firth (Jack), Rupert Everett (Algy), Reese Witherspoon (Cecily), and Frances O’Connor (Gwendolen). Parker adds additional aspects of the movie that were in Wilde’s original play but left out by a previous producer. An Indian version of The Importance of Being Earnest in Telugu by the name “Ashta Chamma” was released in 2008 and was a critical and commercial success.

Exile publications

The Importance of Being Earnest was written in the summer of 1894 in Worthing, England and first performed at St. James’s Theatre in London, England on February 14, 1895. It was highly remarked as Wilde’s most enduring and popular play with great reviews. Yet, at the announcement of his prosecution to the public, his magnificent play was brought to an abrupt end with only 86 performances. Once released from jail two years later, and in exile from England in Paris, Leonard Smithers agreed to publish his play along with another one of his critically acclaimed plays: An Ideal Husband. Wilde was precise and diligent in his revision on the play, insisted that there be a reproduced playbill from the first performance, and both plays were soon published in 1899 with the cover reading “By the Author of Lady Windermere’s Fan.”

(Source: thebestnotes.com)