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The Importance of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

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Presentation on theme: "The Importance of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Importance of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

2 The Importance of Being Earnest Written in 1895 A Comedy in 3 Acts Is a satire Immediate hit when first performed Criticizes Victorian moral and social values Bridges Victorian period/literature with Modern Uses wit, puns, exaggeration, and wordplay to create humor

3 Importance of Being Earnest The title of the play is a pun. To be earnest means to be serious, and the main character (John/Jack) uses the name Earnest when he is in the city Bunburying is using an alias to get away with avoiding social obligatioins

4 Main Characters John Worthing, aka Jack, aka Earnest Algernon Montcrief, Jacks friend Lane, the butler for Algernon Rev. Chausible, the preacher in the country Lady Bracknell, mother of Gwendolyn Gwendolyn, wants to marry a man named Earnest Cecily, Jacks ward Miss Prism, Cecilys governess

5 Settings Time: Around 1890 Place(s): London (the City) Jacks House in the Country (a very large estate) The village church

6 Settings Jacks Country House

7 Settings Jacks Drawing Room

8 Settings Lady Bracknells mansion in London

9 Victorian Period Named for Queen Victoria of England Was Queen from 1837-1901 Followed the reign of Mad King George The culture was very moral and serious Women were expected to be the angel in the house - to take care of their husband and family

10 Victorian Period Manners were supremely important English society was divided into classes The Upper-class was well-educated, came from a rich and respected family (old money), and having good manners mattered more than anything else Considered bad manners to flaunt wealth

11 Victorian Period Young women were always chaperoned until they were married Womens clothing covered them from neck to ankle; clothes had to be modest In the upper classes, people with a bad reputation were outcasts no matter how much money they had Good manners were extremely important

12 Victorian Fashion For the Gentlemen

13 Victorian Fashion For the Ladies

14 Victorian Period People did not just drop in to visit - they made formal appointments Refreshments were expected when visitors came to call (visit) - usually tea and cake or tiny, elegant cucumber sandwiches Men were expected to be well-educated Women were expected to marry well

15 Oscar Wilde - Author Born in Ireland; lived in England and abroad Attended Trinity College in Ireland and Oxford University in England Very witty and funny Believed in the value of art for arts sake - art (literature) should not be concerned with political issues Came from upper-class family Bad Boy of his time - The Lil Wayne of his day (but well-educated)

16 Oscar Wilde With other writers and artists, rebelled against the prim, moral, religious culture of Victorian England Was known to be wild, flamboyant, witty Although homosexual, married and had children Being homosexual was illegal, and he served time in prison for it

17 Literary Vocabulary Comedy - light-hearted literature with humor and a happy ending Satire - literary writing that makes fun of or criticizes the faults of people or groups. Purpose is to point out flaws Wit - using words to be clever and funny with language Pun - a play on words

18 Literary Vocabulary Protagonist - the main character Foil - the character who contrasts the main character (the foil reflects the traits of the main character) Blocking figure - A character, often old and cranky, who interferes with the romantic desires or the other main characters and provides comic action

19 Literary Vocabulary Motif - a recurring character or element repeated in a literary work. Food is a motif in The Importance of Being Earnest

20 Satire and Farce Satireusing exaggeration to help humor make people laugh at their own weaknesses Farce--a comedy which aims to entertain the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humor of varying degrees of sophistication

21 Four Main Topics Satirized 1. Class 2. Marriage / love

22 Four Main Topics Satirized 3. Art 4. Truth

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