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The Importance of Being Earnest (Full) - Full Length Play

The Importance of Being Earnest (Full)

Oscar Wilde

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Full Length Play

5m, 4f

ISBN: 9780573701047

Probably the wittiest comedy in the English language. 

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Description | Characters | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
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Full Length Play


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Probably the wittiest comedy in the English language. To avoid various social responsibilities, Jack Worthing has invented an irresponsible younger brother named Earnest.


5m, 4f

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) was born in Dublin to Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane. While studying at Oxford, he was fascinated by the aesthetic movement and eventually became a proponent for L'art pour l'art ("Art for Art's Sake"), and wrote the award-winning poem Ravenna. After he graduated in 1879, he moved to Chelsea in London to establish a literary career. Upon graduating in 1879, he moved ... view full profile

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Elizabeth Minski 8/14/2013 1:46 PM
Poor Jack Worthing is in a pickle: his responsibilities at his beautiful estate in the English countryside call for him to be societally above reproach, yet his heart yearns for the decadent pleasures of London, no matter how un-virtuous these delights may seem to his constituents in Hertfordshire.    How to fix this?  Why not invent a conveniently wicked younger brother who constantly needs rescuing from London’s dens of iniquity?  Surely this will lead to no humorous complications further down the road….

Undoubtedly the literary jewel in the crown of the late, great Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest combines all of what we love best about Wilde.  Free from the moralizing constraints that hemmed in his other popular works, Earnest is as sinfully delicious as that extra slice of cake you cannot seem to resist.  Full of the best put downs and the most decorous fight at a tea table ever to be written, The Importance of Being Earnest seems effortlessly charming at all times, whether enjoying the Town or strolling along an English country garden.  Always delightful, whether reading it for the first or hundred and first time.
Dara Levendosky 4/21/2013 5:05 PM
Algernon Mocrieff and Jack Worthing have one thing in common: they’re liars. Algy, a man who resides in London goes to the country to check on his invalid friend, Bunbury. Jack, who resides in the country goes to London to help out his wayward brother, Ernest. Algy’s Bunbury was created so he could escape dinner parties with his aunt, Lady Bracknell, whereas Jack’s creation of Ernest is a persona he takes on when he comes into the city to visit Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell’s daughter. Jack desperately wants to marry Gwendolen and she wants to marry Jack under the guise of Ernest but Lady Bracknell rejects it because Jack’s origins are a mystery; he was orphaned from birth. Algy learns Jack has a ward, Cecily, and decides to go to the country posing as Ernest. Cecily, a young idealistic girl, falls for Algy, also under the guise of Ernest. Jack returns, shocked to see Algy. Then Gwendolen arrives meeting Cecily. The two talk about their engagements to Ernest Worthing, the confusion is cleared when both men are revealed.  In order to redeem themselves, they vow to be christened with the name Ernest. Lady Bracknell comes in search of her daughter, refusing to give her consent to the marriage of her and Jack. Ultimately it is revealed that Jack’s mother was Lady Bracknell’s sister, making the two men brothers. And the final reveal: Jack’s birth name was Ernest. Despite the Deus ex Machina of Jack’s birth, Wilde accomplishes a brilliant commentary on how society judges based off appearance. It’s a shallow world they live in until money is mentioned or coming from a noble bloodline. Wilde’s approach is similar to that of restoration comedy, with a hearty lesson learned at the end: “I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”

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