The plot of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde, performed by Shem Productions is a Victorian melodrama where Jack Worthing, the protagonist, lives by a phantom name ‘Ernest’ in London, and by his original name in the country. This further leads to a series of misunderstandings among his friends, family and girlfriend.
The Importance of Being Ernest and Insignificance of Being Earnest
According to two female characters in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Ernest is a name that is typically desirable for a husband and represents high social status and wealth. Earnest, on the contrary, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, means to be “serious, sincere”, or, in other words, honest (“Earnest”). Within the irony of the title of Wilde’s play itself, the hypocrisy of the high social class of the Victorian era is revealed. Wilde himself said of the play in one of his letters to Lord Alfred Douglas from Worthing, “The real charm of the play, if it is to have a charm, must be in the dialogue.
“I’ve now realized for the first time in my life, the vital importance of being Earnest. (713.521-523) Jack’s final line demonstrates his understanding of the secret meaning behind “The Importance of Being Earnest”, by Oscar Wilde. That human beings have the capacity to be both good and evil. This is shown through the character of Jack, other character’s relation to Jack, and even in the theatrical elements of the show.
Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde is a legendary author who has composed many great plays including The Green Carnation and A Woman of No Importance, however, The Importance of Being Earnest was undoubtedly the most famous of his works. First published in 1930, yet acknowledged since the late 1800s, The Importance of Being Earnest helped to revive the theater tradition of Congreve and Sheridan. The story is a comedic view of romance and the emphasis we place on seemingly trivial articles, such as a name. In this story, contrary to the typical saying, a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet.
Our first scene begins with a confrontation, and the whole story is a man versus confusing women (better known as society) conflict from there on out.
Every line, every character, and every stage direction in The Importance of Being Earnest is set on supporting Oscar Wilde’s want for social change. The Importance of Being Earnest was written during the late period of the Victorian era. During this period social classification was taken very seriously. It could affect working and living conditions, education, religion, and marriage. Wilde explores the issues of social class and turns it into a comedic play. He humorously criticizes Victorian manners and attacking the society of the luxurious life. The audience becomes self-aware as the characters reflect on themselves. Plays such as this become successful because of the backgrounds the writers come from and the experiences they have had. In The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde satirizes the Victorian society and the ironic differences between the lower and upper class.
Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays. Ed. Richard Allen Cave. New York: Penguin, 2000.
Every text is an argument to the audience and every argument is influenced by a text and the audience surrounding the author. The Importance of Being Earnest is a play written by Oscar Wilde which was first performed in 1895. The plot centers around the proposal of marriage between Jack Worthing and Gwendolen Bracknell and also the proposal from Jack’s friend and Gwendolen 's cousin Algernon Moncrieff extended towards Jack’s ward, Cecily Cardew. In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde uses the ideas of his time period, his own background, and absurd comedy to argue that the views of marriage and gender held by those in Victorian Era England are wrong and hypocritical.
In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde uses wit to undermine the societal expectations of women. Set in England during the late 19th century, the play shows the shallow and trivial attitude of the upper-class Victorian society. This status-driven society favors men, creating a dissatisfying life for women. The male characters, particularly Algernon Moncreiff, uses wit to show superiority over women. Yet, Cecily Cardew’s wit and cleverness best Algernon at his own game. Although often interpreted as a sign of farcical psychosis, Cecily’s diary actually reveals her true intelligence and dominance over Algernon.
Jack is the leader of the boys choir group in civilization and he is the complete opposite of Ralph. Jack wants to be leader and won’t let anyone stand in his way he rules through fear and shows signs of militarism and dictatorship. He is cruel, sadistic and preoccupied with hunting and killing pigs to help the rest signal for help. His sadism only gets worse throughout the novel, and eventually turns cruelly on the other boys. Jack pretends to show an interest in the rules of order on the island, but he views the differently because they only allow him to inflict punishment. Jack represents greed, savage and the anarchic aspects of man.
One of the things that changes Jack was his hatred and drives him to the point where he was willing to kill. In the beginning he was a choir boy who knew nothing much, but his hatred grew when he was not elected leader. In the book it quote “And you shut up! Who are you anyway? Sitting here telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing-” (91). This quote shows that Jack had