The Importance Of Being Earnest Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… Running throughout the entire play is the double meaning behind the word earnest, which functions both as a male name and as an adjective describing seriousness. The plays twists and turns around this theme, its characters lying in order to be "Ernest," and then discovering that because of a number of remarkable circumstances they had not in fact been lying at all. In claiming to be Ernest, both Algernon and Jack had, unbeknownst to themselves, been earnest. In the figure of Lady Bracknell in particular, The Importance of Being Earnest lightly shows the limitations and unhappiness produced by such a way of life. The play mocks this earnestness, it is the characters who do not act earnestly who are rewarded with love, and who are proven not to have been acting dishonestly at all. With this, The Importance of Being Earnest makes a tentative further claim: that perhaps Algernon, Ernest, Cecily, and Gwendolyn have been the earnest ones all along; unwilling to act earnestly according to social status and convention, willing to lie to get what they want, and never completely able to escape their own delusions, they at least act honestly with themselves. Their earnestness is not one of telling the truth and fitting in, it is an earnestness of going after what they wanted. In retrospect, …show more content…
E.M. Forster said the following about literature once, "What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote."

Works Cited

Boyle, Robert. "Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)." British Novelists, 1890-1929: Traditionalists.
Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 34. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Pp. 315-331.

Foster, Richard. "Wilde as Parodist: A Second Look at The Importance Of Being Earnest." College English 18, 1 (Oct.,

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