Actions Perform in the Play The Importance of Being Earnest

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      There is very little action in the plays of Oscar Wilde like The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband. The Importance of Being Earnest is a delightfully fantastic play full of paradoxes, brilliant dialogues and originality in the treatment of theme. Its plot is rather thin, but full of wit and humour that keeps the reader engaged in it. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the entire appeal of the play lies in its brilliant dialogues. The Importance of Being Earnest by no means has a substantial plot. The chief interest of it lies in the dialogues because the character do very little in it except talks. The dialogues in this play are full of wit, humour, paradoxes and epigrams.

Action in Act I

      There is hardly anything that happens in the entire play. The only action in the first act is the following developments in the plot: Jack's visit to Algernon's flat in London, arrival of Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen, Jack's proposal of marriage to Gwendolen and her immediate acceptance, Jack's decision to change his name to Ernest and Lady Bracknell's rejection of Jack's on the grounds of his unknown parentage. Besides these incidents we are also informed that Algernon has invented an invalid friend by the name of Bunbury. He has invented this friend to go into the countryside. He provides him with the opportunities to visit countryside, while Jack has invented a younger brother, called Ernest, who leads an immoral life in London and his wicked deeds take him to London and on the pretext of visiting this fictitious brother he gets a chance to court Gwendolen.

Action in Act II

      In the Act II we are introduced with some more characters — Miss Prism, Cecily and Dr. Chasuble. We came to know about the mutual attraction between Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble; Algernon's visit to Jack's countryside residence, in the guise of Ernest, in order to see Cecily about whom he has come to know through the inscription in Jack's cigarette-case; Jack's coming back to country in mourning clothes; verbal skirmishes between Jack and Algernon; Algernon's marriage proposal to Cecily and Cecily's acceptance because she is already in love with him and have even got engaged to him in her imagination; Gwendolen's unexpected and sudden arrival at Jack's countryside house and the misunderstanding between the two girls because both of them believe that they both are engaged to the same Ernest and both the young men — Algernon and Jack's desires to be christened as Ernest.

Action in Act III

      The action in the Act III consists Lady Bracknell's arrival at the Manor House in search of her daughter Gwendolen; Cecily's cross-examination by Lady Bracknell and her approval of Cecily's marriage to Algernon; Jack’s disapproval of giving his consent to Cecily's marriage to Algernon Prism; Lady Bracknell's approval of Jack and Gwendolen's marriage. And the play ends with three couples — Jack and Gwendolen, Algernon and Cecily and Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism uniting happily.

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