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The Importance of Being Earnest
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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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Honestly, AP English Aside and coming from an avid reader and 17 year old, this drama is HILARIOUS. I was practically dying of laughter during class hearing my classmates read the snarky, biting quips of 1895 british aristocrats lying and deceiving each other. The plot is absolutely hilarious, the characters all dreadful in the best ways, and the social critisism well executed and scathing in its farce-driven shell. And for those expecting a drawn out, boring play that only disappoints compared to the glorious promises of some Amazon reviewers...DON'T. The pacing of the play is very fast-paced and witty, moving from one scene to the next with an easy to follow but fast speed, and even to a modern audience it's sure to get a chuckle out of the most firm unbeliever. Reading through the first two acts, the whole class was cracking up laughing and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves thouroughly. It was a nice break between satires about eating babies and old English epics, that's for sure, and I'm definitely going to order my own copy, it was so good.
So overall, 10/10 would read again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Must- Read. A great book for high-school or above with great philosophy and moral storytelling. Deep and intriguing the entire time.Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book has a good story but it is written as a play. I didn't know that and I found it distracting.Published 12 days ago by B. J. Hill
Funny, clever, and a definite classic. I did not put it down until the end. I can't wait to see the play!Published 15 days ago by Kindle Customer
Unfortunately it took me way to long to read this incredible story. Well at least I knew who I was when I started reading it though. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Adonis Caballero