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The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

the-importance-of-being-earnest-oscar-wildeAlgernon Moncrieff, Act Ihe truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!Sources: Cornell Chronicle, The Drama 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Plays of All Time by Daniel Burt, Encyclopaedia Britannica, New York Times, Variety, Victoria and Albert MuseumCopyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc.The Importanceof Being Earnestby the NumbersCharacters in the play pretending to be named Ernest (Jack and Algernon)2Plays rank in The Drama 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Plays of All Time14Year Wilde was convicted for homosexuality and sentenced to prison for two years1895 An Irish poet, playwright, critic, and novelist, Wilde grew up in a literary family. He was famous for his wit, flamboyance, and devotion to art. Wildes best-known works explore forms of double or secret identity, such as his plays and his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.OSCAR WILDE1854–1900AuthorSocial ConventionsWilde satirizes Victorian society through wordplay and mockery of marriage.LanguageMuch of the comedy in this play comes from its witty language and use of double entendre.HandbagSymbolizes the arbitrary role of fateBunburyRepresents polite excuses and white lies LoveThe plot revolves around several romantic relationships and the way deception affects them. Gwendolen FairfaxLady Bracknells daughter; Jacks belovedLady BracknellAlgernons aunt and Gwendolens mother; a commanding matronThemesSymbolsOscar Wildes dramatic masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest brings two couples together happily and resolves one case of a long-lost baby. Along the way, it satirizes the social customs of 19th-century England with a continuous barrage of wit. Nothing is sacred in this play, which is both hilarious and profound.Wit Is MoreImportantThan TruthMAIN CHARACTERSCecily CardewJacks rich and beautiful ward; Algernons belovedJack WorthingAlgernon MoncrieffPRETENDINGREVELATIONCreates an imaginary brother, Ernest, as an excuse to have fun in townDiscovers he was not abandoned as a baby but is from a respectable familyPretends to be Ernest in town to woo GwendolenCreates an imaginary friend, Bunbury, as an excuse to avoid social obligationsDiscovers Jack is in fact his real long-lost brotherPretends to be Jacks brother Ernest in the country to woo CecilyINVENTIONOscar Wilde1895EnglishPlayAuthorFirst PerformedOriginal LanguageThe Importanceof Being EarnestComedy

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