The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Book Report/Review
Performing Arts
Pages 5 (1255 words)
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Celebrated Victorian playwright Oscar Wilde once wrote "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth." This is exactly the strategy that Wilde himself employed and used it to the fullest while exploring the follies and double-standards of the society in which he lived in his most memorable and famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest.


The importance of drama and the attention that newly released plays got from the society can be gauged from the fact that in London alone there were 50 theatres. It is believed that Wilde wrote this play in Worthing, where he was on a brief vacation and the version of the play that was enacted was a briefer version, cut down on the advice of George Alexander; the actor-manager at St. James. Wilde had already written three other plays that had become instant successes. His third play An Ideal Husband had opened only a month before and was still being performed at the Haymarket Theatre, just a few blocks away from St. James. The play is set in the Victorian era in which it was written and relates the story of two very idle young men from upper classes who are leading a double life. Wilde introduces the character of Jack Worthing, a resident of Hertfordshire, where he lives a pious life taking care of his ward, the pretty Cecily Cardew. Cecily is the daughter of Thomas Cardew who found Jack in a hand-bag at a railway station and later brought him up. ...
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