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“The Importance of Being Earnest” is a farcical comedy that was authored by Oscar Wilde. The article of “A Revolutionary Outrage: The Importance of Being Earnest as Social Criticism” uses the play to predict the knowledge of marriage and homosexuality. In this play, the author reflects at a fascinating impartiality and attributes that exist between the social classes. As commented by various reviewers about the psychoanalysis that exist in the drama, it portrays the relationship that exists between homosexuality and heterosexuality in the society. Wilde’s narration depicts the alteration of personality to escape the various obligations that are cumbersome with the attachment of social classes. It is through this play’s theme that myriad readers and analysts realize the triviality attached to institutions like marriage and social class. Through the protagonist, Wilde attempts to portray the gaps and differences that exist between the multiple social classes. Notably, he reveals the importance of individual characteristics other than the social background.
In the introductory part of the play, the enormous reviews by certain individuals examine the relationship that exist between the protagonist, Ernest Worthing (Jack), and his friend Algernon, as homosexual. As the lifestyle of the two friends is revealed in the play, they seem to have special interest in each other, although they come from different backgrounds. The unexpected arrival of Jack during the visit of Lady Bracknell, who is Algernon’s aunt, brings into question the relationship that exists between Algernon and Jack. Based on his explanation, Jack’s main interest was to make a marriage proposal to Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell’s daughter (Lalonde 661). While Algernon gets interested with the cigarette case possessed by Jack that has an inscription from little Cecil, this becomes a good ground for Jack to explain the social attachment that exist between him and Cecil. At the same time, he discusses the key things that interest her. The mention of Bunbury as the ideal friend who knows about all the visits that Algernon makes, creates questions regarding the activities that take place on such occasions. Meanwhile, the arrival of Lady Bracknell with her daughter gives Jack an opportunity to express his wishes. The proposal is facilitated by Algernon’s distraction of Lady Bracknell while Jack remains with Gwendolen. Fortunately, Gwendolen accepts the proposal and shows her interest to marry someone by the name Ernest because of its aristocratic nature.
When Lady Bracknell is informed of the proposal, she interrogates Jack about his family background. Jack, on the other hand, laments that he has no definite parents, but has extreme interest in Gwendolen (Lalonde 670). On this note, lady Bracknell disapproves the proposal on the grounds that Jack has to produce evidence regarding his parental background. After the visit, Gwendolen leaves with her mother, although she later came for Jack’s address. After the return of the visitors, Algernon develops an interest in Cecil and seeks to find out more about her. Before embarking on his plans, he went for bun burying.
On a later scene, feminism is reflected by the relationship that exists between miss Prism and Cecil. The continuous appraisal by miss Prism of a man who is hard working and good looking as a suitable man for marriage reveals the importance of heterosexual relationships. Nevertheless, Cecil longs to marry a person identified as Ernest despite the attributes attached to him as being lazy and extravagant due to aristocracy. At this point, Algernon emerges as Ernest, Jack’s wicked brother, while Jack has left to check on his imaginary brother. Algernon’s admiration of Cecil’s beauty forces him to stay over the weekend in order to make his intentions known.
After visiting his brother, Jack appears with mourning clothes claiming his brother died in Paris. Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism compel Jack to remove the clothes after informing him of the arrival of Ernest. Surprisingly, the realisation that Algernon has taken the position of his brother forces him to shut up to hide the secret of his lies. After this occurrence, Jack wishes to send Algernon back to London but it is too late because Cecil has already fallen in love with him. When Jack leaves for a moment, Algernon takes this opportunity to propose to Cecil who accepts it. Because of this, Algernon plans to organise rechristening, just like Jack. As he went to organise baptismal, Gwendolen arrives in pursuit of Jack after escaping from home. On her reception, she meets with Cecil and exposes her interest only to find out that both of them are smitten by the same man. This discussion portrays effeminacy between the two ladies, and it subsequently leads to a fight. Their fight is short-lived after the arrival of Algernon and Jack, who are forced to reveal their true identities (Lalonde 674). Realising the hoax, they embrace onto each other while the men are forced to look for means to reconcile with the ladies. After the ladies accepted their apologies, their celebrations are short-lived as Lady Bracknell arrives.
Interestingly, when Lady Bracknell learns about the union of Algernon and Cecil, who is from a rich background, she gives her consent. Regarding Jack and Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell condones, but asks Jack to avoid the relationship. Realising lady Bracknell’s approval of Algernon and Cecil relationship, Jack disagrees on it as he has control over the time Cecil should get a suitor. This contradiction leaves Lady Bracknell to give a go ahead for the two relationships. Dr. Chasuble, the reverend, and Miss Prism appearance for the baptismal of Algernon and Jack creates a shock because lady Bracknell remembered Miss Prism when she was still a maid to her sister and escaped with a baby. On this note, Miss Prism reveals the whole story and the true identity of Jack is realised as Ernest Worthing, and that he is the brother to Algernon. At this point, Lady Bracknell confirms the marriage of Ernest and her daughter while Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism fall in love with each other. The play finally ends while commenting on the fact of importance of being earnest. The overview of the play reveals the importance attached to social class.
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