Title: The Importance of Being Earnest
Author: Oscar Wilde
Genre: play (comedy)
Length: DailyLit (28 installments, read in 2 days 🙂 )
Year Published: 1895 (play premiered)
Reason for Reading: I read Miss Julie by August Strindberg a few weeks ago and really liked it (it’s a play), so I thought I’d give another play a shot
Summary: Basically these two chaps, Jack and Algernon, both pretend to be named Ernest and fall in love with two different women who can’t imagine being married to a man who’s name isn’t Ernest. Both of them want to be re-Christened as Ernest, but before they have a chance, a shocking discovery changes the futures of these four young people.
My Thoughts: I couldn’t stop laughing the whole time I read this play. The whole time I knew Jack and Algernon were just going to get into deeper and deeper trouble. I found the whole concept of “Bunburying” hilarious and knew that it was just not going to end up well for the boys. Bunbury is a friend Algernon invented. He is often sick, which gives Algy the opportunity to go into the country to escape whatever London may hold for him whenever he feels like going to the country 🙂 A wonderful idea, if it can be pulled off. But Jack has a sort of Bunbury, in that he pretends to be two different people, depending on where he is (the country or the city). How can this turn out well?!
I used to say that I disliked reading plays. But, I think I have a more accurate theory now: I dislike plays written in Old English (aka, Shakespeare). As I mentioned above, I quite enjoyed Miss Julie when I read it at the beginning of the month. And that is one of the reasons I chose to read The Importance of Being Earnest. I didn’t really know anything about this play before I read it. I’ve seen part of the film with Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon–but the fact that those two actors are in the film was really the only thing I remembered about it. But this play is hilarious! It sort of reminded me of The Inimitable Jeeves, just because there is a lot of crazy stuff going on the whole time.
I think I’ll definitely have to read Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw now! I love My Fair Lady, so I think I’d really like the play. Although I’ve heard the ending of the play is a bit different than the end to the movie. It’s my understanding that the ending of the play is more definite, whereas the ending of the film is left a little open to interpretation.