A comedic movie, play, or book should have more importance in the world than they do. On any given night if someone were to watch the news or read the newspaper they would see just how dire and depressing the world actually is. It is important to take the time now and then and have a good laugh to ease the tension that the news can cause. Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is a witty and amusing comedy which conveys real life everyday themes such as real love as opposed to selfish love, religion, marriage, being truthful and country life as opposed to city life. This play shows a striking similarity to many of the remarkable yet amusing circumstances of sitcoms seen on television today. To say that a comedy begins in error and confusion, and ends in knowledge, recognition, and self-discovery is a very accurate description especially when referring to The Importance of Being Earnest.
There are countless instances in the play for the first characteristics of a comedy: error and confusion. Many of these occurrences are involving Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing. Near the beginning of the play Jack and Algernon are discussing the matter of the cigarette case and who it belongs to, this leads to the admission from Jack about his true country identity. Here Jack must explain to Algernon why he is calling his niece Cecily his aunt and why his alter ego is actually Earnest and that Jack is his true identity. Another comical situation is when Jack returns to the country and tells everyone that his `brother’ Earnest has been killed by severe chill when unbeknownst to him Algernon has come to the country that very day claiming to be Earnest. It is exciting to see how the characters will get themselves out of the…
…lly are and as luck would have it, they are brothers who were separated during their childhood. Jack discovers that his name has actually been Earnest all along “I’ve realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest” (1924).
The Importance of Being Earnest is a fantastic play; it is truly a great work of English literature. It makes light of love, marriage, and religion which are issues that people take very seriously and that is what everybody needs is to lighten up sometimes. Despite the fact that it was written in the Victorian era, the witty comedic themes are still relevant in today’s society which makes the play all the more entertaining and relatable.
Wilde, Oscar. “The Importance of Being Earnest.” The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Vol. 2A. Ed. David Damrosch. New York: Longman, 2002. 1185-1924.