April 21, 2009

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde: Review

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In The Importance of Being Earnest, Jack Worthing is madly in love with Gwendolen Fairfax. However, she is under the impression that his name is Ernest and will only marry a man named Ernest. Ernest is the name Jack uses to run around town without his innocent ward Cecily knowing about it. In the meantime, Gwendolen's mother, Lady Bracknell, objects. Afterall, he was a foundling, abandoned in a handbag in a London train station. Who knows who his parents might be?

Gwendolen plans an elopement and Jack needs to be re-Christened- post haste!- (just wanted to use that phrase) without her knowing she's been deceived. When another Ernest, appears on the scene things get a little sticky.

I haven't read a play in years. The last one was MacBeth in university. So this was a different reading experience for me. I completely enjoyed it! It was so silly. I'm sure every Three's Company plot grew from Earnest roots. Everyone is so ditsy but the writing manages to be clever. No one ever says what you expect them to say:

Lady Bracknell: "...I was obliged to call on dear Lady Harbury. I hadn’t been there since her poor husband’s death. I never saw a woman so altered; she looks quite twenty years younger."

I think it shows very clearly what Wilde thought of men and marriage in Victorian society: they try to get away with as much as they possibly can.

Recommended.

12 comments :

  1. I love this play! I don't think I've read it but I've seen it a few times and I love the Reese Witherspoon movie. I should read it. Thanks for the review.

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  2. I don't think I've read a play since high school or college, but this one does sound like a lot of fun.

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  3. The Importance of Being Earnest is one of my favourite plays of all time. The theatre I work for is producing it this year and it should be great! I never thought of the connection to Three's Company before but I do believe you're right! When you have characters like the ones here how could you not love the play?

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  4. I read this play in university and thought it was really fun! I wouldn't mind a reread at some point and time. :)

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  5. Plays and I do not get along--when I'm reading them, at least. I do love seeing them performed though. I saw this one many many years ago and loved it.

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  6. I haven't read this in ages, but I remember it as being funny and well worth the reading. I saw a BBC production on TV -- and it was great.

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  7. Rebecca- I want to see the movie now.

    Bermuda- It is quite fun.

    Thatsthebook- That should be fun to watch.

    Kailana- It wouldn't that long.

    Literary Feline- That's too bad but at least you go to see it live!

    Beth- I'll have to look for the BBC one too.

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  8. I have been wanting to read this since we finished The Picture of Dorian Gray. You've convinced me to move it up on my TBR pile!

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  9. I could read this play over and over and then watch the movie with Firth and that other guy (too lazy to look up his name...you know who I'm talking about!!). Have you read Ideal Husband? I haven't but am wondering if I should.

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  10. classic! love this play--just finished it with my senior class. the satire is hilarious and wilde's views on marriage, the english caste system, and morality never fail to crack me up. i love the quote you used--it's one of my favorites.

    now, if you're still in the mood for plays, try 'a raisin in the sun' or 'the glass menagerie'.

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  11. oh, and the other guy trish is talking about--rupert evert. (and he's looking mighty scary these days after some baaad plastic surgery.) :(

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  12. Yes! Rupert Everett! See--I knew someone would know who I was talking about. :) Oh, and Judi Dench. She's great too. Maybe I'll go pop that movie in for bedtime.

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