The Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde
(Dramatic Publishing Company)
Oscar Wilde is a master of sophisticated comedy, and The Importance of Being Earnest is his masterpiece. Like all the composers of classics, Wilde injected timeless messages into his plays. Although the play was written near the end of the 19th century, the message is still valid—a person’s name and heritage mean little; it’s what you make of yourself that counts. Oscar Wilde wraps up his message into a delightful package. Two charming young ladies—sophisticated Gwendolen from the city and naive Cecily from the country—are in love with Earnest Worthing. But there is no such person as Earnest Worthing. Gwendolen thinks Jack is Earnest, and Cecily thinks Algy is Earnest. Each girl swears that she could never love a man who wasn’t named Earnest. In the midst of all this confusion comes Lady Bracknell, who doesn’t like the idea of anybody loving anybody. It sounds like a big mess, but Wilde unwinds this knotty affair into one of the favorite comedies of English literature.