• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Published in 1899, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a satirical interpretation of Victorian society

Extracts from this document...


Published in 1899, "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde is a satirical interpretation of Victorian society. Brilliant, inventive and extremely hilarious "The Importance of Being Earnest" is Oscar Wilde's most well known and the writer's greatest achievements. Oscar Wilde expresses the features of Victorian people through each character in his play; therefore, the two leading female characters; Gwendolen and Cecily definitely play a vital role in the action of the play. The main conflict of the play revolves around the play's protagonist, Jack Worthing, a young man who leads a double life (Jack in the country and Ernest in town) and Algernon Moncrieff, who has a fictional friend named 'Bunbury' whom he uses to escape dull social obligations. Jack Worthing wants to marry Gwendolen Fairfax, who believes his real name is Ernest, but is refused to do so by lady Bracknell due to Jack's family background. In Act 2, Jack's friend, Algernon Moncrieff complicates the conflict by visiting Jack's country house under the disguise of Jack's fake brother "Ernest" who often gets into trouble and require Jack's assistance to escape them. ...read more.


She claims that her "ideal has always been to marry someone of the name Ernest". This is humorous as we know that at that moment she is very wrong. In Act 2, we see that although she is intelligent, she is also foolish at times. When she first meets Cecily she says, "Something tells me that we are going to be great friends. I already like you more than I can say. My first impressions on people are never wrong". Moments later, when she discovers that they are both engaged to 'Ernest' she says - "From the moment I met you, I distrusted you. I knew you were wrong and deceitful. My first impressions on people are invariably right". Luckily for Jack, she is a woman who forgives easily. After the small conflict with Cecily and when Jack told the truth about him, she forgives them immediately. Overall, Gwendolen, been raised in the city is polished and sophisticated. Cecily Cardew, Jack's ward and grand daughter of Thomas Cardew who adapted Jack as a baby. ...read more.


They both keep a diary which they carry around everywhere they go and would show as proof of whatever they say. They even speak in union which emphasizes their similarity - "Your Christian names are still an insuperable barrier. That is all." The fighting scene in Act 2 shows how both of them would do their utmost to achieve what they want. Cecily although younger, less fashionable and less sophisticated than Gwendolen takes advantage of Gwendolen's obsession with fashion and uses it as a weapon to insult her during the small clash between them. For example, Gwendolen says - "I had no idea there were any flowers in the country" and Cecily says - "Oh! Flowers are common here, Miss Fairfax, as people are in London". Cecily is quick-witted and determined. Cecily is described as "a sweet, simple, innocent girl." Gwendolen is depicted as "a brilliant, clever, thoroughly experienced lady" from Jack and Algernon respectively. Despite these contrasts the girls seem to possess more similarities. Each appear shallow, and each loves Ernest because of their name. Gwendolen and Cecily are hopelessly in love with their counterparts and therefore provide the main source of conflict in this romantic comedy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Oscar Wilde section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Oscar Wilde essays

  1. The Importance of Being Earnest-" A trivial comedy for serious people".

    These can be seen when Algy is shocked by the absence of the cucumber sandwiches on the plate, which he had eaten himself. Food in society was also important to a Victorian lifestyle. Wilde mocks how there were desires for certain foods such as muffins, and the way in which

  2. The characters in the play are paired. Compare and contrast Jack and Algernon,

    name of Ernest I knew that I was destined to love you." Jack is some what taken back by this, and decides not to tell her about his real identity. He thinks that she is so good and pure that the truth of a lie that would totally spoil her.

  1. Comparison Essay Between 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde and 'Pack of ...

    The Krogers are definitely not who they seem In Barbara's monologue, she feels that no one is who they seem, especially Mr Stewart who tells nobody anything.. The audience see the gradual demise of Barbara emotionally, as she becomes more surrounded by lies, because of the lies she is faced

  2. oscar wilde

    In Oscar Wilde's "The Selfish Giant", the author introduced us to the giant who is gruff and selfishness is explored through stereotypical portrayal of the gruff giant. When the giant is introduced, it's done cunningly as giant decides to return to his own castle after seven years and his first

  1. What makes the play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ funny?

    Her language is emphasised to the extreme and spoken in such an absurdly dignified and uppish language that what she says is funny. "Was he the victim of a revolutionary outrage?" is one particular memorable line Lady Bracknell says, it appears to be spoken in a very upper-class manner.

  2. Explore Oscar Wildes presentation of his character Jack from his play The Importance of ...

    This is usually due to the fact he is trying to cover up his lies. There are points when Jack is shown to be demanding. When he travels to the town, in act one, he says to Algernon 'I simply want my cigarette case back'.

  1. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

    Lord Henry's advice to Dorian is present, Dorian is merely thinking about himself. Dorian's solution towards the body of Basil Hallward is Alan Campbell. Dorian ask's Alan Campbell to pay Dorian a visit by writing to him and saying the matter was of utmost importance.

  2. The Importance of Being Earnest

    The less amusing side of Lady Bracknell's personality shows when she questions Jack about his parents Jack explains the fact that he lost both of his parents. Lady Bracknell's reply is: "Both... that seems like carelessness." (Hall 900.) This heartlessness was common with the social elite of the Victorian era.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work