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The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde PDF

The Importance of Being Earnest – Here is Oscar Wilde’s most brilliant tour de force, a witty and buoyant comedy of manners that has delighted millions in countless productions since its first performance in London’s St. James’ Theatre on February 14, 1895. The Importance of Being Earnest is celebrated not only for the lighthearted ingenuity of its plot, but for its inspired dialogue, rich with scintillating epigrams still savored by all who enjoy artful conversation.


From the play’s effervescent beginnings in Algernon Moncrieff’s London flat to its hilarious denouement in the drawing room of Jack Worthing’s country manor in Hertfordshire, this comic masterpiece keeps audiences breathlessly anticipating a new bon mot or a fresh twist of plot moment to moment.

Book Review by Brohovsky

If humour comes in a spectrum and slapstick is at one end of that spectrum, then this is the other end.

It would be all too easy to dismiss this play as a light romantic comedy. Although it is about a series of near thwarted romances – the stuff of a million ‘chick-flicks’ and romantic comedies going back as far as the eye can see in drama – this is also something much, much more. It is also a delightfully amusing commentary on human sexual relations, the English class system and (much more importantly) a perfect mirror on the amusing excesses of human selfishness.

In fact, some of the best lines in the play, and the funniest lines in the play, highlight our near infinite capacity to love ourselves. To quote only a few and without hardly looking:

“If you are not too long, I will wait for you all my life.”

“Oh! Not at all, Gwendolen. I am very fond of being looked at.”

“If I am occasionally overdressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.”

“I don’t play accurately – anyone can play accurately – but I play with wonderful expression.”

“You see, it (her diary) is simply a very young girl’s record of her thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.”

The other terribly interesting thing in this play is the role of family. Not only are the families quite dysfunctional, even when people know who their parents are, but the title character is about as confused about how he fits into the complex world of family relations as it is possible to make someone. The thing that makes the line about the handbag quite so funny is that this handbag is about the closest thing he has to family in the entire world. As Pascal once said, we laugh and cry about the same things.

Wilde is, it hardly needs to be said, the closest thing to a God we are likely to have visit us on this planet. There are, for example, even now, more than 100 years after his death, entire companies that produce desk calendars that would not be in business if not for the endless supply of quotes he provides for the foot of Monday the Ninth of February and so on.

If humour comes in a spectrum and slapstick is at one end of that spectrum, then this is the other end.

Oscar Wilde: The Importance Of Being Earnest

Wilde’s most brilliant tour de force, a witty and buoyant comedy of manners that has delighted millions in countless productions since its first performance in 1895. The play is celebrated not only for the lighthearted ingenuity of its plot, but for its inspired dialogue, rich with scintillating epigrams still savored by all who enjoy artful conversation. From the play’s effervescent beginnings in Algernon Moncrieff’s London flat to its hilarious denouement in the drawing room of Jack Worthing’s country manor in Hertfordshire, this comic masterpiece keeps audiences breathlessly anticipating a new bon mot or a fresh twist of plot moment to moment.(0486264785)

Some Famous Quotes:

  • All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his.
  • The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!
  • The very essence of romance is uncertainty.

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