The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a Trivial Comedy

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The Importance of Being Earnest is a trivial comedy for serious people. ​The time period was established in the 1890s, which their styles compared to us now is a lot plainer, simpler, and more practical. The geographical location was in the Victorian high society that these characters buy into, both in London and in Hertfordshire, the second act takes place among the yew groves and rose gardens, and the last scene is taken place drawing room at the Manor house. By referring to the setting of The Importance of Being Earnest, the main settings I focus on is the garden, living room of Algernon, and the drawing-room. The main characters are Jack/Earnest, Algernon Moncrieff, Gwendolen Fairfax, Cecily Cardew, Lady Bracknell and Miss Prism. Jack/ Ernest is the play’s protagonist.

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Jack Worthing is a seemingly responsible and respectable young man who leads a double life. In England his name is Ernest but in the country his name is Jack. Jack/ Ernest is in love with this girl named Gwendolen. Algernon is a charming, idle, decorative bachelor, nephew of Lady Bracknell, cousin of Gwendolen, and best friends with Jack/ Earnest. Gwendolen is the daughter of Lady Bracknell she is also in love with Jack/ Ernest. She is sophisticated, intellectual, and stylish. She is very obsessed with the name Ernest and she will only Marry a man by the name of Ernest. Cecily Cardew is the not related granddaughter of Jack/ Ernest. She is also in love with the name Ernest just like Gwendolen so Cecile fell in love with Jack/Ernest's brother named Ernest. Lady Bracknell, she is snobby, loves money and is overbearing. She is the mother is of Gwendolen. She had a good life and marriage but she wants her daughter to do the same so she plans out a list of people her daughter should marry. Last but not least Miss Prism is an endless source of commonplace and platitude. She highly approves of Jack’s respectability and harshly criticizes his “unfortunate” brother.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a very funny comedy is you can understand British comedy. But the plot for the story is Jack or Ernest is a young man who lives with his best friend Algernon. They both have a secret life in the city and in the country. Jack or Ernest loves Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen. When Lady Bracknell finds out that Jack/ Ernest is an orphan she immediately doesn't accept him and she says to go find a family and a good one or loose Gwendolen. Then Algernon goes to Cecily and to become Ernest the man of Cecily dreams. Then in the story to make things easier for Jack/ Ernest he tells people that his brother Ernest has died in Paris because of a severe cold. To make things more complicated Ernest comes back to the city. Jack is enraged that Algernon came back, so Jack tells Algernon to leave but he won't until he has Cecily hand in marriage. When Gwendolen comes for tea, she and Cecily find out there is no Ernest. They found out that one of Ernest’s is Jack and the other is Algernon. The anger of the two women was brief when they learned that the two men that loved lied to them. Miss Prism has a secret she hasn't told anyone Her novel and her handbag switched. She was on her daily walk a long time ago. She accidentally put baby Jack in her handbag and the novel in the stroller. When she was at Victoria station she dropped of her handbag. Then Jack finds out that he does have a younger brother it's Algernon. As conclusion, he finds out his last name is Moncrieff and he was named after his dad. His real name is Ernest and everyone gets married at the end.

“The theme of the play is Morality because the man who both is and isn't Ernest/earnest—presents a moral paradox.” The mood of the story is a comedy because it says on the cover A trivial comedy for serious people. “Food symbolizes excess, or overindulgence. For instance, Algernon cannot stop eating cucumber sandwiches, or muffins when they are put in front of him, suggesting that his appetites are just as excessive as his eccentric, flamboyant, and extravagant airs.” The play was very delightful and comedic. I found it historical with all of the confusion on some parts. If I were to recreate the play I will design it how the script says how to design it. If it didn't have instructions then the costumes would be the Victorian era. So women would wear 1890’s dresses and men would wear long suits and a top hat and polish shoes. The lighting would be according to what time of day is it. Either daytime or nighttime. If it were in the living room then I would have a spotlight on the characters and maybe some room lights to enhance the effect. For sound, if the scene was outside then there would be wind and some birds chirping if inside maybe some sound of a knock on a door and maybe some creeks in the floorboard. For set props, there will definitely be a salver, silverware, tables and chairs, food, and etc. My personal reaction was it was boring times because I couldn't understand the comedy.

Also, I feel that it would be way better to see it in live-action. Some of the punch lines weren't funny because I couldn't imagine a moment of silence so that the audience could understand the joke. At some points, I got confused with the names because the names were similar well more than similar because Ernest and Ernest had the same names but they also had different names. I wouldn't recommend this play to any of my friend or even teachers because I feel like they wouldn’t enjoy it. If I were to recommend it to someone it would be a college professor.

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The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a Trivial Comedy [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Oct 20 [cited 2024 Jul 13]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/the-importance-of-being-earnest-by-oscar-wilde-is-a-trivial-comedy/
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