The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde. 1895. 76 pages. [Source: Bought]
Algernon. Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
Lane. I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir.
Algernon. I’m sorry for that, for your sake. I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
Premise/plot: The Importance of Being Earnest is romantic comedy--a play--written by Oscar Wilde. It concerns two friends and their adventures/misadventures in the town and country. Algernon Moncrieff, one of our two heroes, claims to be a confirmed bachelor. Marriage is NOT on his to do list. John Worthing (aka Jack) has entirely different plans. He's madly in love with a young woman--a woman who happens to be Algernon's first cousin--Gwendolen Fairfax. The problem? Well, Jack is living a double life. In the COUNTRY he's Jack Worthing (with a ward named Cecily). In the CITY (London) he's ERNEST B. WORTHING. His naughty, wicked brother Ernest is Jack's excuse for going to the city so often and staying away. Algernon thinks it's all good fun--when he stumbles onto his friend's secret--because he has such an acquaintance himself (though he's not pretending to be anyone else--yet), Mr. Bunbury is his COUNTRY friend who's always on death's door.
If Gwendolen accepts his proposal, then Jack plans to kill off Ernest Worthing. (Even if it makes his ward, Cecily, upset. She fancies herself madly, deeply in love with Ernest Worthing. She wants to REFORM that BAD BOY.
When Jack returns to the country and informs the reverend of his brother's death, he's in for a shock. His "brother" just arrived and plans on staying a week at least!
There's plenty to laugh about in this three act play.
My thoughts: I really LOVED this one. It was just a joy to read. Mom said that this was my grandma's favorite play. I can see why! It is hilarious and oh-so-quotable.
When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. (Jack)
Oh! it is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn’t. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read. (Algernon)
Some aunts are tall, some aunts are not tall. That is a matter that surely an aunt may be allowed to decide for herself. You seem to think that every aunt should be exactly like your aunt! (Jack)
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