Ernest / Earnest: Homophone: one of agroup of wordspronounced in the same way but differing in meaning or spelling or both.
Ernest : Jack’s Alter ego in the city Jack’s imaginary younger brother Cecily’s fantasy fiancé Gwen’s love interest Algy’s adopted persona in Act 2 Jack’s real name!
Earnest: serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker. showing depth and sincerityof feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
The Title is the first joke! Earnestness can take many forms in the play, including being boring, solemn, pompous, complacent, smug, self-righteous, and having a sense of duty, all of which Wilde saw as hallmarks of the Victorian character.
The earnestness of Victorian society impels Algernon and Jack to invent fictitious alter egos so they can escape the restrictions of decorum and decency. As you read the play, ask yourself who, if anyone, is ‘earnest’ (and does Wilde suggest that it IS important to be so?)!
Analysing a Play Plot Themes Genre & style Play characters Stage craft Language Settings Context
Some of Wilde’s better known epigrams I never travel without my diary.One should always have something sensational to read in the train. The way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. Education is an admirable thing,but it is as well to remember that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Anything becomes a pleasure if one does it too often. There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on;it is never of any use to oneself. The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
A woman begins by resisting a man's advances and ends by blocking his retreat. Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about. Either that wallpaper goes, or I do. [His final words.]