Friday, 3 January 2014

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Title: The Importance of Being Earnest
Author: Oscar Wilde
Publisher: Penguin
Released: 1895
Pages: 67 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

Oscar Wilde's brilliant play makes fun of the English upper classes with light-hearted satire and dazzling humour. It is 1890's England and two young gentlemen are being somewhat limited with the truth. To inject some excitement into their lives, Mr Worthing invents a brother, Earnest, as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind him to pursue the object of his desire, the ravishing Gwendolyn. While across town Algernon Montecrieff decides to take the name Earnest, when visiting Worthing's young ward Cecily. The real fun and confusion begins when the two end up together and their deceptions are in danger of being revealed.

If I could go back in time and have tea with just one writer, it'd have to be Oscar Wilde.  This man was an utter genius, and I swear I have never laughed so hard at a play. Writing in the Victorian era, Wilde somehow managed to come up with pieces that not only kept his audience entertained, but also proved a point about the society he was living in. In this case, it's the behaviour of the upper class.

The play is based around this character called Ernest, who actually doesn't exist. A key part of Victorian life in the upper classes was that they had different personalities and identities depending on where they were, something Wilde coined as 'Bunburying'. The main characters of  John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff both use this fictional character of Ernest as an excuse to travel from the countryside to the city and from the city to the countryside. However, when they both attempt at using the identity to woo two different women, naturally their Bunburying comes crashing down around them.

Since it was a quick read and a play, I don't have too much to say in terms of a review. All that I do know is that you should definitely read it, whether plays are your thing or not. Wilde is a genius with such a wicked way with words, and you know what? I'm not too worried about studying this for my English Lit class.
Rating: 5/5

1 comment:

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