Oscar wilde

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The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at St. James's Theatre in London, the play is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personas in order to escape burdensome obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the trivialitywith which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance ofBeing Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play.The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, father of Lord Alfred Douglas, an intimate friend of Wilde, planned to present Wilde a bouquet of spoiling vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards the feudcame to a climax in court, and Wilde's new notoriety caused the play, despite its success, to be closed after just 86 performances. After imprisonment, he published the play from Paris but wrote no further comic or dramatic work. The Importance of Being Earnest has been revived many times since its premiere and adapted for the cinema on three occasions, in 1952, 1992 and 2002.TrivialityRichardEllmann says that The Importance of Being Earnest touched on many themes Wilde had been building since the 1880s – the languor of aesthetic poses was well-established and Wilde takes it as a starting point for the two protagonists. While Salomé, An Ideal Husband and The Picture of Dorian Gray had dwelt on more serious wrongdoing, vice in Earnest is represented by Algy's craving for cucumbersandwiches. Wilde told Robert Ross that the play's theme was "That we should treat all trivial things in life very seriously, and all serious things of life with a sincere and studied triviality." The theme is hinted at in the play's ironic title, and "earnestness" is repeatedly alluded to in the dialogue, Algernon says in Act II, "one has to be serious about something if one is to have any amusement inlife' but goes on to reproach Jack for 'being serious about everything'". Blackmail and corruption had haunted the double lives of Dorian Gray and Sir Robert Chiltern (in An Ideal Husband), but in Earnest the protagonists' duplicity ("bunburying") is merely to avoid unwelcome social obligations. While much theatre of the time tackled serious social and political issues, The Importance of..issuperficially about nothing at all. It "refuses to play the game" of other dramatists of the period, for instance George Bernard Shaw, who used their characters to draw audiences to grander ideals.As a satire of societyThe play repeatedly mocks Victorian mores and social customs, marriage and the pursuit of love in particular. In Victorian times earnestness was considered to be the over-riding societalvalue, originating in religious attempts to reform the lower classes, it spread to the upper ones too throughout the century. The play's very title, with its mocking paradox (serious people are so because they do not see trivial comedies) introduces the theme, it continues in the drawing room discussion, "Yes, but you must be serious about it. I hate people who are not serious about meals. It isso shallow of them" says Algernon in Act 1; allusions are quick and from multiple angles. Wilde embodied society's rules and rituals artfully into Lady Bracknell: minute attention to the details of her style created a comic effect of assertion by restraint. In contrast to her encyclopaedic knowledge of the social distinctions of London's street names, Jack's obscure parentage is subtly evoked. He...
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