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The Importance of Being Earnest [Kindle Edition]

Oscar Wilde
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (673 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Importance of Being Earnest is Irish author Oscar Wilde's most famous play. This edition of the classic includes a table of contents.

Editorial Reviews


"In short, there is material aplenty here for the average reader and considerable matter for the specialist." --English Literature in Transition 1880-1920


"In short, there is material aplenty here for the average reader and considerable matter for the specialist."--English Literature in Transition 1880-1920

Product Details

  • File Size: 246 KB
  • Print Length: 174 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0543904687
  • Publisher: Waxkeep Publishing (February 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,055 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
102 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilde's wittiest July 14, 2005
One thing happens when you read Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest"; you are amazed to remember that this play was authored over 100 years ago. For most plays of that era, the average reader tends to lose references and it tends to be stodgy and irrelevant. Not so Earnest, due to the brilliance and imagination of it's playwright.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a tour de force of comedy, misidentifications, and farce. Algernon and Jack are friends, and each has invented an imaginary person as an excuse of getting out of engagements. Jack's person is Ernest, a brother with a wild past. The two conspire to woo the ladies that they love, and through a series of happenstances, must gently deceive to get want they want. The end result is a play of uncomperable quality, chock full of witticisms that are highly quotable out of context. In fact, I dare suggest the entire play is quotable, such its brilliance.

Wilde pulled no punches when writing Earnest. Often, when a play is filled with memorable quotes, it takes away from the realism of the scenes because the characters then become merely conduits for the writer's intellect. Not so in Earnest. Wilde manages to make the characters say exactly what they would say in each situation, true to their persona. That alone is quite an accomplishment, one not often seen.

Misidentities, witty banter, love, all conspire to one of English's most brilliant comedies ever to have seen the stage. We should be so lucky the world had Oscar Wilde in it, and even more so, that he wrote at all.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People" is one of the first plays written in English since the works of Shakespeare that celebrates the language itself. Oscar Wilde's comedy has one advantage over the classic comedies of the Bard in that "The Importance of Being Earnest" is as funny today as it was when it was first performed at the St. Jame's Theater in London on February 14, 1895. After all, enjoying Shakespeare requires checking the bottom for footnotes explaining the meaning of those dozens of words that Shakespeare makes up in any one of his plays. But Wilde's brilliant wit, his humor and social satire, remain intact even though he was a writer of the Victorian era.
Wilde believed in art for art's own sake, which explains why he emphasized beauty while his contemporaries were dealing with the problems of industrial England. "The Importance of Being Earnest" is set among the upper class, making fun of their excesses and absurdities while imbuing them with witty banter providing a constant stream of epigrams. The play's situation is simple in its unraveling complexity. Algernon Moncrieff is an upper-class English bachelor who is visited by his friend Jack Worthing, who is known as "Ernest." Jack has come to town to propose to Gwendolen Fairfax, the daugher of the imposing Lady Bracknell and Algy's first cousin. Jack has a ward named Cecily who lives in the country while Algernon has an imaginary friend named "Bunbury" whom he uses as an excuse to get out of social engagements.
Jack proposes to Gwendolen but has two problems.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great version of the Classic Play October 16, 2005
The Importance of Being Earnest is a fantastic play. It is an easy read, and is not only well thought out, but hilarious.

I liked this book of the play especially, because it includes helpful notes in the beginning, but more because it has a glossary of difficult terms in the back. Every time I came to a word that I did not know, it was sure to be defined in the back.

If you love theatre, this is a great play to read. I would highly suggest this book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it Important to be Earnest? September 24, 2003
In Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest", he answers this question in the form of brilliant comedy. The play, full of witty dialogue such as Lady Bracknell's answer to her daughter's suitor saying he does smoke; "I am glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind."; says, yes, it is important to be Earnest.
One of the more remarkable details of this play is in the title itself. While attending or reading the play, you learn, that the two heroine's of the piece, Gwendolyn and Cecily, are determined to marry men named Earnest; unfortunately, Jack wants to marry Gwendolyn, and Algernon would like to settle down with Cecily. What is the reasonable solution? To tell them that their name's are Earnest. However, Earnest is not only a name, but also a word meaning: an intensely serious state of mind. Why would Oscar Wilde choose the name Earnest for this seemingly ridiculous play anyway?
Why ridiculous you may ask. The answer comes in not only the ingenious dialogue, but in the plot itself. Without giving away the entire story, one can say that the two main characters live, however innocent, deceptive lives and still end up with the fair maiden's in the end. One of them even ends up really being Earnest, to which he answers, "... it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but truth..."
Wilde called his piece, "A trivial comedy for serious people." If the word earnest means serious and the play itself is joyfully absurd, this writer imagines that the characters in the play although exceptionally serious about themselves and their lives, they are trivial or ridiculous. In conclusion, I would say that this play is not only suited for the serious mind, this play is uproariously fun for all of us who appreciate good humor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
It was funny and really cute and silly I loved it the characters were quite funny, it is worth reading
Published 14 hours ago by Valeria Villanueva
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice twist of fate.
I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to others. The moral of the story is surprising given the pretext of the characters initial intentions.
Published 1 day ago by stacy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
A great play showcasing Wilde's view on his world and his consistent wit.
Published 7 days ago by Willi Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
Great play!! I wanted to read something NOT to long and entertaining after reading a couple of sad books, this one was a great choice! I enjoyed every second of it :)
Published 9 days ago by Denise Soria
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
this is funny you have to read the whole thing or it makes no sense soybean lol lol wow almost
Published 14 days ago by james phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars love Oscar Wilde
Excellent and fun read, always enjoy Oscar Wilde. Great commentary on life and all of our hypocrisy. Would recommend. Needed one more word to post...
Published 15 days ago by AyOlet
5.0 out of 5 stars which is amazing to say with something this old
Classic. Laugh out loud...which is amazing to say with something this old. I really enjoy the language too
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 18 days ago by dietless
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Book
This is a short, playful and very clever book. Certainly a fun read.
Published 19 days ago by Danny
1.0 out of 5 stars Could Not Get Into The Story
Sorry, I could not get into this book. It is suppose to be a classic from Oscar Wilde, but after reading a few chapters I lost interest. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Nora
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