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BY WHAT MEANS AND WITH WHAT SUCCESS DOES OSCAR WILDE MAKE ''THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST'' SUCH A MEMORABLE PLAY? Oscar Wilde's play makes fun of the English upper classes with satire and humour. The play focuses on two young men in love with women both determined to marry someone named Earnest. It tells the tale of Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, two young men who have taken to bending the truth and in my opinion, only to add a dash of excitement to their lives. Jack has invented an imaginary brother, Ernest, whom he uses as an excuse to escape from his dull home in the country and frolic in the town. Algernon uses a similar technique, only to escape his town life and retreat to the country. However, their dishonesty eventually crosses each other, and causes a lot of problems with their romantic lives. Oscar Wilde makes this play, 'The Importance Of Being Earnest', such a memorable play, by including a large amount of humour in the play. Humour always plays an important part in a production as this one is, because if an audience laughs during the course of a play, it causes each and every member of the audience to feel uplifted and to feel a sense of happiness. ...read more.


Similarly, at the end of the play, when Jack calls it 'a terrible thing' for a man to discover that he's been telling the truth all his life, he uses the paradoxical language, which again is humorous, making the play so much more successful. Puns are also quite a contribution to the success of the play. In 'The Importance Of Being Earnest', the pun, considered to be the lowest form of wit, is rarely just a play on a word. The pun in this case, is within the title. The earnest/Ernest joke strikes at respectability. Gwendolen wants to marry a man called Ernest, and she doesn't care whether the man actually possesses the qualities that include earnestness. She is, after all, quick to forgive Jack's trickery. In Act III, when Lady Bracknell jokes that until recently she had no idea there were any persons 'whose origin was a Terminus,' she is making a pun, that Jack cannot trace his origin, because it is so far back, just like a railway station is, because the last station on a line, is 'the terminus. There's also a whole series of hidden puns on the words 'line' and 'connection' that can refer to either origin or a train. ...read more.


Algernon and Jack may create similar trickeries, but they are not the same people on the inside. When Jack forms his brother Ernest's death, he covers up the dishonesty, and he is actually acting hypocritically. In contrast, Algernon and Cecily make up elaborate stories that don't really change the truth in any serious way. In some ways, Algernon, not Jack, is the play's real hero, because Algernon is arguably the most likeable character, full of wit, and intelligent remarks. To sum up this whole play, I can surely conclude by giving a definite 'thumbs-up' to this play, because not only has Oscar Wilde made it so memorable, but he has achieved his success by using so many different clever techniques, the main one being humour. Everyone enjoys a good laugh on a night out, so anyone that attends this play, will surely come out feeling better than when they went in. Oscar Wilde was clever in noticing that humour will be the key to writing a captivating play, and I am sure that anyone who goes to see this play, will agree with me, and say that this play possesses a humorous plot, some fantastic ideas and characters, and as a result produces a very successful play. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mikey Holder 18/12/2007 English Literature Coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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