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"The Importance of Being Earnest" analysis

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Love in "The Importance of Being Earnest" analysis

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"The Importance of Being Earnest" analysis

  1. 1. LOVE IN THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by OSCAR WILDE By: Windah Pasaribu
  2. 2. Abstract In this paper, the writer would like to analyze a drama, entitled The Importance of Being Earnest written by Oscar Wilde. The purpose of this writing is to analyze love in the drama. The writer uses the theory of love based on The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. The writer uses textual, contextual, and hyper textual methods. By analyzing the poem, the writer finds that love is determined by social class. Parents also take place in choosing a lover for their daughter. Keywords: Oscar Wilde, love, victorian drama, theme
  3. 3. 1. Introduction The play is about two men who created fantasy figures to make the girls loved them. in this play drama we can see clearly how the social class influenced love. 2. Theory and Methodology 2.1 Theory Theme is defined as a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work that may be stated directly or indirectly. According to Eric Fromm in The Art of Love (1956:25) “love is an activity , not a passive affect; it is standing in, not a ‘falling for’. In the most general way, the active character of love can be described by stating that love is primarily giving, not receiving”. 2.1 Methodology The writer uses close reading method in analyzing this drama.
  4. 4. 3. Biography Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. Upon graduating from Oxford, Wilde moved to London. In the university, Wilde developed his love in literature. He also more conscious of his bisexual nature. He entered the London's high society easyly. He became famous in London as a well-know playwrite. In his play, he did not talk about politic but he talked about critique of social norms. The writing was influenced by his experiences. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). He died on November 30, 1900 in Paris, France.
  5. 5. 4. The Summary Jack reveals he has come to London to propose to Gwendolen. Algernon ridicules the notion of marriage, and says that before Jack can marry Gwendolen, he has to clear up the issue of Cecily., Jack confesses his feelings to Gwendolen, and she admits that she likes him, too, especially since she has always wanted to love someone named Ernest. Alfernon flirts with Cecily as Earnest. He asks Cecily to marry him, and she points out that they have been engaged for three months. Jack introduces Cecily to Lady Bracknell, and Algernon says that he is engaged to her. Lady Bracknell informs Jack that he is the son of her sister, making him Algernon's older brother after seeing Miss Prism. Jack asks Lady Bracknell what his original name was. She says his full name is Ernest John Moncrieff. The two couples, Algernon and Cecily, Jack and Gwendolen are happy because there is no obstacle between them now.
  6. 6. 5. Discussion 5.1 Textual Discussion : Theme There are several themes in this drama. They are: Lies and Deceit In this drama, we found that Algernon and Jack lied. They made their fantasy figure. Jack created Ernest and Alge created Burnbury. From the beginning of the play, we knew that Jack lied about Cecily. The worst part is when Jack and Alge made lies about how Jack’s fantasy figure, Ernest, died. It is really strange when someone made a plan about how someone died. And because they have lied since the first time they had to make more complex lies to get out of the tangles of their previous lies. Eventually, at the end of the story they did not lie longer. They told the truth finally because they know that telling the truth is the best one.
  7. 7. Marriage In this drama, the figures often talked about marriage. We found that Jack wanted to marry Gwendolen and Algernon wanted to marry Cecily. In choosing the best man for their daughter, parents take role here. Lady Bracknell took role in choosing Gwendolen’s mate. We found that Lady Bracknell interviewed Jack because she knew Jack was an orphan. The marriage here influenced by the social class. Gwendolen and Jack were in love but Gwendolen’s mother did not agree because Jack was from lower class.
  8. 8. Love in this play really describes the Victorian era. In that era, parents approval is really needed. It is shown by Lady Bracknell in this play. She directly interviewed Jack, when she knew Jack proposed Gwendolen. Women in Victorian era would normally marry someone who in the same class or higher class, never below their class. The unique thing which makes this play different with the other romance fiction is the definition of love by the figures. It seems that the definition of love in this play is not so much an unconditional and self-sacrificing love, but a general attitude of good intentions, admiration, and honest affection. “My ideal has always been to love someone of the name of Earnest” this phrase stated by Gwendolen. It shown that her love is conditional. 5.1 Textual Discussion : Love
  9. 9. Usually a woman loves a man because he she really loves the man poorly without any requirement. We called it unconditional love. But we can not find it in The Importance of Being Earnest drama. On one side, if we analyze the reason of Algernon married Cecily, we would find that Alge married Cecily for business. We know Algernon was from high class but he had no money and he had so many bills to pay. Cecily who stayed in country house looked like middle class girl, but she was rich. So we can conclude that Algernon married Cecily for raising his status and enjoying Cecily’s wealth. It is only writer’s interpretation. But it emphasizes the goal of marriage in Victorian era. In Victorian era many marriages continued being a business. That’s why before a couple gets engaged they were investigated by the other party. Only few marriages started with love, although many of them as the time passed they get fond of each other.
  10. 10. 6. Conclusion The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde tells about two men who create fantasy figures named Earnest and Bunbury. Two girls were in love with them because these two girls knew their name was Earnest. In fact, these two men lied about their real name. It made the girls angry but finally forgave them. Love in this play is not an unconditional love. It describes how love is in Victorian era. In Victorian era many marriages continued being a business. But at the end of the story, all the figures had happy ending. We covered that Jack was Algernon’s brother. Lady Bracknell finally approved Jack as Gwendolen’s husband. Cecily and Algernon would marry soon too. This play is like common romance fiction at the end with the happy ending. The difference between this play and the other romance fiction is how the figures define love in this play.
  11. 11. REFERENCES: Fromm, Erich. 1956. The Art of Loving. New York: Harper & Row. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde (accessed on June 13, 2016) http://www.pcschools535.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/4e81dcfbe d275/Importance%20of%20Being%20Earnest%20Text.pdf (accessed on June 13, 2016) http://literarydevices.net/theme/ (accessed on June 13, 2016) http://mural.uv.es/aguiro/ElizabethBarrettBrowningandRobertBrowning .html (accessed on June 13, 2016) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love (accessed on June 13, 2016) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_in_the_Victorian_era (accessed on June 13, 2016)

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