Passages of The Importance of Being Earnest - Summary & Analysis

Also Read

ACT I

1. I don't play accurately.....I keep science for Life. (Pg. 46)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Algernon Moncrieff to his servant Lane.
When the play opens we are confronted with Algernon who is playing on piano. He asks his male servant Lane to comment on his performance. Lane retorts that he finds it improper to comment on his master's performance. Algernon replies to this that he is aware of his incapability to play accurately on piano. But his performance is marked by feelings and sentiments. Anyone can play accurately and according to the rules, but as far as he is concerned, his specialization lies in sentiments. He puts the rules of accuracy, which are considered the hall-marks of science for life.

      Analysis: Algernon says that his music is marked with sentiments and not with accuracy, still he wants his servant to comment on his performance. Here is an irony of dialogue. Algernon is saying that he relies on rules and perfection for life while all of us later on came to know that his entire life is based on falsehood as he has created an imaginary friend called Bunbury and pretends to be Ernest in order to woo Cecily.

2. Lane's view on marriage.....no sense of moral responsibility. (Pg. 48)

      Summary: This is Algernon's response to his servant Lane's statement when he
says that he has a very little experience of marriage as he himself got married just once and that too for a very short span of time and that marriage was a consequence of a misunderstanding between him and a young Lady. Algernon gives twist in the generally accepted saying that the upper class should set models for the lower classes. Here he accuses the lower order. He finds Lane's views on marriage to be loose, and if the lower classes live like that, they are leading a life devoid of moral responsibilities. This will have adverse effect on upper class. What will happen to the upper class. As a matter of fact, people like lane should set an example in matrimony for the people like Algernon.

      Analysis: This play is full of paradoxical statements and the inevitable humour stems from it. Usually, upper class is expected to set an example in upright behaviour and manners for the lower classes. But in this particular case, Algernon puts this responsibility on the lower order.

3. I really don't see.....try to forget the fact. (Pg. 50)

      Summary: When Jack informs Algernon that he has come to London with the purpose of proposing marriage to Gwendolen, Algernon retorts that he was in an impression that Jack had come to London in the pursuit of pleasure and he calls Jack's act of proposing marriage as business. Jack calls him utterly unromantic. Algernon tells Jack that there is nothing romantic in proposing marriage. He thinks that to be in love is certainly romantic, but there is certainly no romance in a proposal of marriage. What if one's proposal of marriage is accepted? We all are aware of the fact that generally the proposal are accepted. Once a proposal is accepted, all excitement, uncertainty (that is the essence of every romance) is over. Algernon further adds that if he ever gets married, he will certainly like to forget the truth of his marriage because in other way his life will be devoid of romance.

      Analysis: Algernon's remarks are full of hypocrisy. He is chiding Jack for having come to London in order to propose marriage to Gwendolen, while he himself leaves no way in wooing Cecily. All these facts, his hypocrisy, his paradoxical statements, his way of giving interesting twists to the generally accepted sayings makes him a typically interesting character.

4. Oh there is no.....Heaven. (Pg. 52)

      Summary: These are the lines spoken by Algernon. He tells Jack that if he ever happen to marry, he will try to forget the fact. Jack says that there is no wonder if he is saying like that because the Divorce Court was especially invented for the people like him (whose memories are so 'flexible' that they can easily forget something really important like their own marriage with so much of comfort). Algernon says that it is gross to discuss a topic like Divorce because "Divorces are made in Heaven". It is something that is not in our hands but a thing that has already been destined.

      Analysis: This statement reflects Algernon's wit and the way he gives interesting twists to the generally accepted saying, as he has done here. Algernon has reversed the saying "Marriages are made in Heaven" to "Divorces are made in Heaven."

5. You have always.....or to anyone else. (Pg. 56)

      Summary: The lines are spoken by Algernon who is bewildered when Jack denies the fact that his name is Ernest and informs Algernon his actual name. Algernon tells Jack that his name is Ernest because he has always told him so and Algernon has introduced him to others as Ernest. His appearance shows that his name was earnest, Algernon further claims that. "You are the most earnest looking person I ever saw in my life". Algernon finds it absurd on Jack's part to deny the fact that his name is Ernest as he possesses the qualities of earnestness. And this is the name printed on his visiting cards. Algernon tells Jack that he'll keep these visiting cards as a proof so that he can produce them at the right moment.

      Analysis: This entire play revolves round the name Ernest. Algernon says that Jack is most earnest looking person while in the later part of the play he himself claims to be Ernest. In this particular statement he is trying to prove that Jack is Ernest while in the later part he tries to prove the same with his own self. There is both the irony of dialogue and situation. In fact the name Ernest is the pivot around which the play moves.

6. My dear Algy.....pure and simple. (Pg. 58)

      Summary: These are the lines spoken by Jack. In these lines Jack reveals the fact about his invented brother. He tells Algernon that he is not sure enough whether he'll understand his real motives behind adopting the name of Ernest. And the reason for his doubt is Algernon's non-seriousness. He is appointed as the guardian of Cecily Cardew, so in order to maintain the dignity of the position one has to adopt a very high moral tone. Jack tells Algernon that his moral duty as a guardian never allows him his own happiness and for this reason he has invented an escape from the countryside. He has always pretended to have a wicked younger brother called Ernest whose immoral ways of life compels him to intervene thus providing ample of opportunities to visit London. This invented brother keeps on getting into embarrassing situations. This is the whole truth pure and simple.

      Analysis: The above statement is a revelation of facts and secrets. This statement throws light on Jack's character and his invented brother.

7. You have invented.....Bunbury is perfectly invaluable. (Pg. 60)

      Summary: Algernon reveals certain interesting facts about his own life. After hearing Jack's story, he exposes the facts about his own life. He tells Jack that the way he has invented Ernest who provides him with the excuses to visit London, similarly, he has invented a permanently invalid friend called Bunbury who resides in the countryside. He can always pretend that Bunbury's health is not well so he needs to visit the countryside in order to look after Bunbury.

      Analysis: Algernon's invention of Bunbury is reply to Jack's invention of Ernest. Both the characters have certain similar traits, there is even fear of misunderstanding one with the other.

8. The amount of women.....in public. (Pg. 62)

      Summary: Algernon tells Jack that how dreadful it is to attend Lady Bracknell's dinner parties. Her social circle is made of highly scandalous people (as the ladies flirt with their own husbands). He tells Jack that Lady Bracknell always provide him with two women companions at a time or with no woman at all. He hates the way Mary Farquhar flirts with her our husband in the presence of other men in public. Algernon informs Jack that this trend of married women flirting with their own husbands is increasing day-by-day. These ladies have no hesitation in flirting with their own husbands at social gatherings and that is highly undesirable and obscene. He finds it highly scandalous on women's part and says that it is something like 'washing one's clean linen in public'. So, this should be banned.

      Analysis: The entire play is full of paradoxes. Algernon gives a twist to the saying, "Washing one's dirty linen in public" and says "Washing one's clean linen in public". This play is a mockery of Victorian models and presents the view of Victorian Society. An act of flirting with one's own hush end by a lady was considered as a scandalous act in Victorian society. And The Importance of Being Earnest is a joke on at Victorian mindset and ways of living.

9. Well, I must say.....to be encouraged in others. (Pg. 68)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Lady Bracknell to her nephew Algernon. He has created an entirely invalid character called Bunbury who is constantly ill and Algernon gets an excuse from Lady Bracknell's dinner parties on the pretext of visiting Bunbury. He informs Lady Bracknell that he'll not be able to attend her dinner party on next Saturday because his friend Bunbury is seriously ill and he has to move to the countryside in order to take care of him. Lady Bracknell is worried not about the condition of her friend Bunbury's illness but about the arrangements at her dinner party. She tells Algernon that it is high time his friend Bunbury should made up his mind whether to live or die. He has been delaying this matter since long and she finds it absurd. She does not approve of people's sympathy thrived on the sick and ailing persons. It should never be encouraged.

      Analysis: Wilde has portrayed Lady Bracknell's character to mock at the Victorian aristocracy. She is a shallow character belonging to high class society of London, who is thoroughly self-centered. In fact, the entire Victorian society thrives on false pretences. It possibly, cannot see beyond its own benefits and narrow interests. Lady Bracknell has been made the mouth-piece of the particular society.

10. We live, as I hope you know.....to love you. (Pg. 70)

      Summary: Jack has proposed to Gwendolen. These lines show Gwendolen's romantic character, she tells Jack that she was already aware of the fact that he is in love with her. She herself has been fascinated by the time she came to know that his name is Ernest.

      She says that we are living in an age governed by ideal and this fact has constantly been mentioned by women's magazines. These ideals are even talked about by the priests in their sermons in the provincial churches. She tells him that her ideal has always been to love someone with the name of Ernest. She further adds that there is something in this name that inspires absolute confidence. And she knew that she was destined to love Ernest.

      Analysis: Gwendolen, like her mother, belongs to the shallow high class society of London. She has used the word 'ideal' in a superficial sense. In fact, this whole play is based on absurdity. It is quite absurd to hear that one knows beforehand with whom he is destined to love.

11. I confess I feel somewhat.....Revolution. (Pg. 80)

      Summary: Here Lady Bracknell is surprised to know the facts about Jack's birth and upbringing. She expresses her bewilderment to Jack. She tells him that to be born or brought up in a handbag seems to her a serious disregard for the ordinary decencies of life. She further adds that this whole episode of his life reminds her of the excesses committed during the French Revolution.

      Analysis: The above statement throws light on Lady Bracknell's character and shows her excessive imagination because she has highly exaggerated a simple incident of the loss of a child and thinks it to be a product of an illicit relationship.

12. You can hardly imagine.....parcel? (Pg. 82)

      Summary: Lady Bracknell came to know certain objectionable facts about Jack's character. She suggests him to produce a parent of either sex quickly. When Jack shows his inability to do so, she tells him that neither she nor her husband, Lord Bracknell would allow their loving daughter Gwendolen to form an alliance with some one whose parentage is not known. They have brought up their daughter with great love and care and they would never like her to get married to someone who was found in a hand-bag.

      Analysis: Lady Bracknell is behaving in very realistic and obvious manner in this situation because any other mother would have behave the same. No mother would ever allow her daughter to marry someone with an unknown parentage.

13. Her mother is perfectly.....rather unfair. (Pg. 82)

      Summary: Lady Bracknell has been inquiring Jack in order to examine his suitability for her daughter's hand. Jack is fed up with her investigation. She rejects Jack on the basis of his unknown parentage. Jack complains Algernon that Lady Bracknell is totally unbearable. He has never met such a horrible woman as Lady Bracknell is. He further says that he does not know how a Gorgon (a mythical monster) looks like. Gorgon is a character of mythological world while Lady Bracknell is a real life monster not not being a myth.

      Analysis: It is an example of Jack's wittiness.

14. Few parents now-a-days.....devotion to you. (Pg. 88)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Gwendolen to Jack. Her mother has denied to give her consent to Jack's proposal of marriage to Gwendolen. Gwendolen says that there are very few parents who respect the wishes of their children. She herself has lost her influence over her mother at the age of three. The respect that the elders had for the young people is fast dying. Although Lady Bracknell might prevent them from getting married to each other or she may force Gwendolen to get married someone else a number of time other than Jack, Gwendolen will keep on loving him. No one can ever change her devotion to him.

      Analysis: The above given lines put light on Gwendolen's nature. The paradoxical statement is highlighted when she points out, "respect for the young people is fast dying." The paradox lies in the content of this statement. Instead of the young people respecting the old, according to her, it is the old ones who should respect the youngsters. She further makes a frivolous remark. She says that though she may not get married to Jack but to someone else and she may even marry a number of times, she will keep on loving him because his name is Ernest.

ACT II

15. Were I fortunate.....from the bees. (Pg. 96)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Dr. Chasuble, the Rector, to Cecily. The above given statement is referred to Miss Prism. Miss Prism is Cecily's governess. She has a soft corner for Dr. Chasuble and similarly he too has. Dr. Chasuble comes into the garden when Miss Prism is teaching German to Cecily He advises Cecily to pay attention to her German lessons. He tells Cecily that if he were Miss Prism's pupil, he would hang upon every word that falls from her lips and learn the lesson well because she is a scholar. But the manner of saying these words was entirely different and they sounded something else. He says, "I would hang upon her lips" .... He soon clarifies this remark by saying that his remark is a metaphor inspired by the bees, that hang upon the flowers and suck the last drop of honey.

      Analysis: These lines clearly reflect Dr. Chasuble's attraction towards Miss Prism. Dr. Chasuble is a satire on the priestly class of the times. He is a pompous clergyman who has interest in Miss Prism and at the end of the play he joyfully exclaims, "Laetitia" and holds her in his arms.

16. Maturity can always.....from fruits. (Pg. 104)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Miss Prism to Dr. Chasuble where she claims that one can always depend on a mature woman. Because they are highly experienced and their age can be trusted. Young women are completely inexperienced. They are green and therefore, unreliable. She follows the way of Dr. Chasuble and soon clarifies her statement by saying that she has used the word 'Green' because she was thinking of women in terms of plants and trees. She further adds that she has been comparing young women to unripe fruits which are green in colour.

      Analysis: Miss Prism speaks in an aphoristic manner.

17. My sermon.....and festal days. (Pg. 108)

      Summary: Jack tells Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble that his younger brother Ernest has died of severe cold in Paris. These lines are spoken by Dr. Chasuble out of the sympathy that he is feeling for Ernest's death, while Miss Prism is not sympathetic because of the wickedness of Ernest. Dr. Chasuble after his condolence to Jack and plans to deliver a sermon in the church on next Sunday. Dr. Chasuble says that the sermon in which he is going to make a reference to Ernest's death, is a multi-purpose sermon. He has delivered it on several occasions in the past. It can fit to any occasions, joyful or sorrowful. It is about the Biblical episode of the Israelites who received heavenly food from God in the wilderness. He has preached it on several occasions like the reaping of harvests, christenings, confirmations, on days of penance and on the festal days.

      Analysis: Dr. Chasuble is pompous clergyman full of learning although he has not published any of his sermons so far. His offer of delivering a multi-purpose sermon adds a touch of grotesque to the sad occurrence (though we all are aware of the ironic situation that Jack has no brother at all while Dr. Chasuble is delivering a sermon at his death).

18. Well, I don't like.....I call it grotesque. (Pg. 116)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Algernon to Jack. Algernon has come to Jack’s country house in the guise of Ernest, Jack's younger brother. While Jack has already announced to everyone that his brother Ernest has died in Paris. Jack is dressed in mourning clothes. He is shocked to see the unexpected guest (Algernon) there and asks him to leave the house at once. Algernon tells Jack that he would leave his residence only on one condition i.e. when Jack changes his mourning clothes. He further adds that why should he mourn for someone who is alive and staying with him for a whole week as a guest? It is really ridiculous to see someone mourning for the person who is alive.

      Analysis: Jack is very restless to see Algernon in his house and Algernon is really enjoying his distress. He finds enjoyment in Jack's discomfort. The most ridiculous element to mark here is that he himself has invited himself to somebody else's household for a whole week and informs the householder with great authority that he is a guest there.

19. Your vanity is.....success for you. (Pg. 118)

      Analysis: These lines are spoken by Jack to Algernon. Algernon has entered Jack's country house pretending to be his brother Ernest. Jack says that Algernon is always overdressed. Algernon's accepts his accusation telling that no doubt at times he is a little over-dressed but he makes amendments by looking excessively educated. Jack says that Algernon is overestimating himself by claiming to be "over-educated" and it is really absurd. He expresses his discomfort on Algernon's presence in his garden and asks him to get ready because his train back to London is at five past four. He laughs at him and says that his Bunburying game has not been successful there.

      Analysis: Jack is obviously angry seeing Algernon at his house posing as his brother Ernest. The word 'Bunburying' suggest dual identity, a homosexual innuendo.

20. It's a very painful.....unbearable. (Pg. 118)

      Analysis: These lines are spoken by Cecily to Algernon. She falls in love with him only by hearing the tales of his wicked ways of life and that he bears the name 'Ernest'. Jack asks Algernon to leave his house at once, Cecily is disappointed at this short meeting that has come to an end now. Cecily says that it is very painful to part from people one has known for a short time. One can bear the separation from the old friends but it is unbearable to part from people with whom one has just been introduced.

      Analysis: This is another example of paradox in the play. Generally, a long time relation is difficult to forget while the short term are soon forgotten. But here Cecily has reversed the phrase that arouses humour. It also reflects her shallow nature.

21. Well, ever since.....with you, Ernest. (Pg. 122)

      Summary: Cecily tells Algernon that she has been fascinated by him ever since she heard about his wicked ways of life from Uncle Jack. He has been a topic of conversation between her and Miss Prism all these days. And that she has fallen in love with him because of his name. She has been in love simply by hearing the tales of his wickedness. She feels that a person who is So much talked about must have something special in him. She calls herself foolish because she has fallen in love with him just because of his name being Ernest.

      Analysis: These lines show Cecily's shallow nature.

22. On the 14th of February.....always to wear. (Pg. 122)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Cecily to Algernon. She informs him that she has been engaged to him on the 14th of February. She even mentioned the tree under which she accepted his proposal after overcoming her wavering mind. She tells him that she has been in love with him because he is called Ernest and she finds great fascination in this name. She got engaged to him in her imagination and the next day she brought an engagement ring on his behalf and a bangle with a true lover's knot which she promised always to wear.

      Analysis: These lines throw light on Cecily's persona and reveals that she is a very romantic character who lives in her own world. She loves him for the kind of life he has been leading and more because of his name. This shows her childish nature too.

23. I really can't see.....called Algernon. (Pg. 126)

      Summary: Cecily has fallen in love with Algernon even before meeting him just because of his assumed name of Ernest. She has also got engaged to him in her own imagination. Algernon tries to convince her that Algernon is also not a bad name. It sounds aristocratic and the most interesting point given by him is that most of the people belonging to high class society and who are the victim of bankruptcy bear this name.

      Analysis: It is in fact a comment on high society London. And also on the ladies like Cecily and Gwendolen, who fall in love not with the person but with the name. Algernon's dialogue is full of wit and humour.

24. Outside the family.....does he not? (Pg. 130)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Gwendolen to Cecily. She tells Cecily that her father is not well known outside her family circle. In her opinion home should be a man's sphere of activity. If he neglects his domestic duties, he becomes womanish and that is very painful. She does not approve of it because it makes a man attractive.

      Analysis: This is an another example of paradox in the play. How can a man become attractive by neglecting his domestic duties?

25. Well, to speak.....quite unreadable. (Pg. 132)

      Summary: Gwendolen is shocked to meet someone so young and attractive as Cecily. She tells Cecily that she could be older and unattractive. Gwendolen feels that Jack is the guardian of such a young and charming lady, he might fall a prey to her beauty and youth. She wishes that she were over forty-two years of age. No doubt Ernest is a man of strong and upright character, "He is the very soul of truth and honour. He can never be disloyal to anyone and similarly, he can never deceive anybody. But there are certain precedents that men of noble character have often fallen prey to much younger women's beauty. Both modern as well as ancient history will provide us with sufficient painful examples of this kind. And if history is not able to do so, it would be really dull and uninteresting and nobody would read it".

      Analysis: Gwendolen feels that men can easily be trapped by beauty and charm. She is afraid of Cecily's charming personality. She has full faith on Jack but she cannot trust on Cecily's charm. These lines show her shallow and superficial nature.

26. Gwendolen - Cecily it is.....in the future. (Pg. 142)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Jack to Gwendolen and Cecily. Now truth is exposed to everybody that he is not Ernest, nor he has younger brother by the name of Ernest about whom he has been talking since long. Jack informs both the girls that it is very painful for him to speak the truth. He has never spoken truth in his life and he is quite inexperienced in facing these kind of situations (is speaking the truth.) He tells them that he is not Ernest, but Jack and he has never had a younger brother of that name. In fact, he has no brother at all. He never had a brother in his life and he certainly have no intention of having one in future.

      Analysis: Jack tells Gwendolen and Cecily that it is very painful for him to speak the truth and the reason behind this trouble is that he has never spoken truth in his life. So it is quite obvious that he has no experience of it. Now the things are crystal clear to all that he never had a brother nor does he have any intention of acquiring one in future.

27. One has a right.....knows that. (Pg. 142)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Algernon to Jack. Algernon is teasing Jack about his game of being one person at one place and another elsewhere. He asks him what would he do now as the truth about his double identity is open to all (that he is Jack in the countryside and Ernest in London.) They both have been playing the game of Bunburying all along. Algernon says that one can play the game of Bunburying anywhere one wishes. The only important thing in his opinion is that one should be serious about it.

      Analysis: Both of them have been playing the same game. They adopt the name 'Ernest' for a similar purpose - Jack to woo Gwendolen and Algernon to woo Cecily. When their truth is revealed, both tried to tease each other. They do not appear to be ashamed for what they have done.

28. Well, the only small.....and a very good thing, too. (Pg. 144)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Jack to Algernon. When both of them are caught and: their truth is clear to all. Jack feels delighted at the state of things. He tells Algernon that in all these wretched things, the only solace he is feeling is that - his (Algernon's) Bunbury is exposed to everyone. He expresses his delight at the issue that now onwards Algernon will not be able to come down to the countryside on the pretext of visiting his friend. He is happy because now Algernon will not get chance to woo Cecily.

      Analysis: This is quite strange to see that one character is enjoying other's discomfort. Earlier it was Algernon who was enjoying Jack's distress and now it is Jack's turn. They are not troubled by at their own woes but they are happy at each other's troubles and discomfort.

ACT III

29. In matters of grave.....thing. (Pg. 150)

      Summary: This line is spoken by Gwendolen to Cecily. Both Jack and Algernon have accepted that they have been wooing them under the assumed name of Ernest. Both the women are satisfied with the explanations given by Jack and Algernon and they have decided to accept their proposals of marriage. Gwendolen says that they should forgive them because they have done the whole thing in style. They are not worried about the sincerity of their lovers but they are worried about the style. Gwendolen tells Cecily that in the matters of grave importance style is primary and sincerity, secondary.

      Analysis: This statement shows the shallow nature of Cecily and Gwendolen. It is also a comment on the affected Victorian high class society. In Victorian period people were engaged in acquiring short-term happiness, no matter it contains the sincerity of emotions but the style was must.

30. Dear child, of course.....I must give my consent. (Pg. 160)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Lady Bracknell to Cecily. She accepts Cecily as her nephew Algernon's wife because of Cecily's possession. Lady Bracknell says that she is against the marriages that bring a lot of dowry. She tells Cecily that no doubt Algernon has no property of his own but he certainly have his debts to be paid. She is not in favour of the marriages that are arranged to improve one's monetary position. She herself got married to Lord Bracknell without having any fortune in her name. As she herself had married Lord Bracknell without thinking about money (that she really did not had) similarly, she would ask her nephew not to think about his fortune (debts). She is satisfied with Cecily's profile and gives her consent to the marriage.

      Analysis: These lines reflect the condition in the age of Wilde, where marriages were generally arranged because of money. Money constituted the essential part of marriage and this is how high society of London worked. It also reveals the hypocrisy of Lady Bracknell who is very much money-minded in her outlook.

31. But I couldn't wait.....out of the question. (Pg. 164)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Cecily Cardew to Algernon. Jack as a guardian of Cecily denies to give his consent to the marriage between Algernon and his ward Cecily. He gives a solid reason for not giving his consent. He tells that he does not approve of Algernon's moral character because the way he has entered and behaved in his house is very indecent. He informs Lady Bracknell that Cecily cannot marry at her own will till she attains the age of thirty-five as per her grandfather's will. Cecily asks Algernon if he can wait for her and Algernon says he will. But Cecily retorts to this in the following manner: "But I couldn't wait all that time". She further tells Algernon that she hates waiting for anybody for more than five minutes. In fact, she just cannot wait at all because it irritates her. She is not punctual herself but she really appreciates so in others. And in that way, waiting to be married is out of question for her.

      Analysis: These lines show the shallow and superficial nature of Gwendolen. Though she herself cannot wait for anybody for more than five minutes, still she expects others to wait for her; she herself is not punctual but she appreciates punctuality in others; she wishes to Algernon but she cannot wait to be married. So there is a contradiction what she expects from others and what she herself really is.

32. Unmarried ! I do not.....I forgive you. (Pg. 172)

      Summary: These lines are spoken by Jack to Miss Prism, considering her to be his mother. He is really keen to know his real parentage. When he hears that Miss Prism, had placed him in a leather handbag in the cloak-room of a railway station, he instantly thinks himself to be her son, he produces the handbag in which Mr. Thomas Cardew got him and asks Miss Prism to identify the bag. After Miss Prism's recognise the handbag, he is fully convinced that he is an illegitimate child. He is prepared to forgive Miss Prism. He further says that in this world of sinners nobody have a right to shun or criticize others and specially someone who have suffered so much. Miss Prism may have committed an act of folly but her repentance will clear her deeds. And Besides, he is of the opinion that why should we have two different laws one for men and another for women?

      Analysis: The lines show Jack's over enthusiasm in finding his long-lost mother. Though it is a mistake as revealed later, his exultation bears the genuineness of his feelings — his filial love that overcomes the stringent social dictums. It is a bold and daring action on Jack's part.

33. The general was essentially a man of peace, except in his domestic life. (Pg. 176)

      Summary: This line is spoken by Lady Bracknell to Jack. She is telling Jack about his father. Everything is clear to all now that Jack is Lady Bracknell's nephew and Algernon's elder brother. Lady Bracknell tells Jack that his father was essentially a lover of peace, he loved peace in every sphere life (even in the battle field) except in his domestic life because he always kept on quarrelling with his wife.

      Analysis: The above given line is a fine example of Lady Bracknell's wit. She is talking about a military general who loved peace (even in war) but who was always quarrelling with his wife in his domestic life.

34. It is terrible.....truth. (Pg. 176)

      Summary: This line is spoken by Jack to Gwendolen. His fictitious younger brother is no more a secret now. Everybody has come to know that the name he has been pretending is his real Christian name. He is highly surprised to discover the facts about his parents. He says to Gwendolen that it is really a terrible discovery for a man to find out that in his whole life he has been speaking only the truth and nothing else than that.

      Analysis: All the facts that were there in clouds have come to lime-light now. Jack here speaks in a sententious manner, i.e. his above given sentence sounds like maxims.

35. I've now realized.....Earnest. (Pg. 178)

      Summary: This line has been spoken by Jack. This is the concluding line of the play. The obstacle in Jack's way to marry Gwendolen has been completely wiped by the revelation of facts that he is Algernon's elder brother and Lady Bracknell's nephew and his real name is Ernest that he has so far falsely claimed. It leads the play to a completely humorous and exaggerating happy ending. There is a comic ending when the couples Gwendolen and Jack, Cecily and Algernon and lastly Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble embrace each other. When Lady Bracknell says to Algernon that he seems to display the signs of triviality, Jack replies that on the contrary, he himself has realised for the very first time in his life the great (real) importance of being earnest.

      Analysis: The play is completely witty starting from the first act to the last word 'Earnest' (there is pun on the two spellings of 'Ernest' and 'Earnest'.) Wilde has mocked at the seriousness of Victorian's attitudes to life. The wittiness of the play is inherent everywhere - the plot, the characters, the situations, dialogues and what is not.

Previous Post Next Post

Search Your Questions