Essay title: The Importance of Beint Earnest
It is set in England during the late Victorian era, and its primary source of humour is based upon the main character Jack's fictitious younger brother Ernest.
Jack's surname, Worthing, is taken from the town where Wilde was staying when he wrote the play.Wilde's plays had reached a pinnacle of success, and anything new from the playwright was eagerly awaited. The press were always hungry for details and would pursue stories about new plots and characters with a vengeance.
To combat this Wilde gave the play a working title, Lady Lancing. The use of seaside town names for leading characters, or the locations of their inception, can be recognised in all four of Wilde's society plays.Contents hide1 Plot2 Characters3 Translations4 Four-act version5 Possible in-jokes6 Trivia7 Film versions8 Adaptations9 References10 External linkseditPlotAlgernon, an aristocratic young Londoner, pretends to have a friend named Bunbury who lives in the country and is frequently in ill health. Whenever Algernon wants to avoid an unwelcome social obligation, or just get away for the weekend, he makes an ostensible visit to his "sick friend.
" In this way he can feign piety and dedication, while having the perfect excuse to get out of town, avoiding his responsibilities. He calls this practice "Bunburying."Algernon's real-life best friend lives in the country but makes frequent visits to London. This friend's name is Ernest Worthing…or so Algernon thinks.
But when Ernest leaves his silver cigarette case in Algernon's rooms, Algernon finds an inscription in it: "From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack".The original production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895 with Allan Aynesworth as Algernon (left) and George Alexander as Jack (right)This forces Ernest to disclose that his own visits to the city are also examples of "Bunburying," much to Algernon's delight. In the country, "Ernest" goes by the name of Jack (which he understands to be his real name), and pretends that he has a wastrel brother named Ernest, who lives in London. When honest Jack comes to the city, he assumes the name, and behaviour, of the profligate Ernest. In the country Jack assumes a more serious attitude for the benefit of his young ward, the 18-year old heiress Cecily.Jack himself wishes to marry Gwendolen, who is Algernon's cousin, but runs into a few problems.
First, Gwendolen seems to love him only because she believes his name is Ernest, which she thinks is the most beautiful name in the world. Second, Gwendolen's mother is the terrifying Lady Bracknell. Lady Bracknell is horrified when she learns that Jack was adopted as a baby after being discovered in a handbag at a railway station. In her opinion it is absolutely below the standards of her daughter to "marry into a cloakroom and form an alliance with a parcel", as she puts it.Meanwhile, Jack's description of Cecily has so appealed to Algernon that he resolves to meet her, in spite of Jack's firm opposition. Algernon decides to visit Jack's house in the country, in the guise of the mysterious brother "Ernest." Thus Algernon-as-Ernest is able to meet Jack's ward, Cecily, who has for some time imagined herself in love with Ernest — Jack's non-existent, scapegrace brother.
As such, Cecily is soon swept off her feet by Algernon. In parallel, however, Jack, having decided to give up his Bunburying, has announced the tragic death of his brother Ernest to Cecily's governess Miss Prism, and Prism's secret admirer the Reverend Chasuble. Thus, by the time the two.