The Importance of being Earnest: riassunto

The Importance of being Earnest: riassunto in inglese della commedia teatrale di Oscar Wilde (2 pagine formato pdf)

Appunto di x6elisa


The importance of being Earnest (1895) di Oscar Wilde.

Plot. The title contains a pun (play on words), because the word Earnest, an adjective meaning serious or sincere (opposed to frivolous), is pronounced in the same way as the proper name Ernest.
The plot turns on a misunderstanding resulting from the lies of two young aristocratic men: Ernest Worthing (also known as Jack or John) and his friend Algernon Moncrieff (Algy). Both men lead double lives.
Jack, when he visits the city is known as Ernest, but to protect his reputation, convinces his ward (a young girl under his responsibility), Cecily Cardew, that the dissolute Ernest is in fact his brother. However, previously on one of his visits to London, Jack (in his disguise as Ernest) meets and falls in love with Gwendolen Fairfax, whose mother, the formidable Lady Braknell, opposes the marriage on the grounds of Jack’s unknown origins. In fact when a child, Jack was found in a black leather handbag in the cloakroom at Victoria Station by Mr Worthing, an old gentleman who adopted him and gave him his own name.

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Algernon, in his turn, lives in London, but he often goes to the country on the pretext of visiting a fictitious invalid friend, the sickly Bunbury, whose illness provides him the excuse to escape tedious family engagements with his aunt (again Lady Braknell). During a visit to the country Algy falls in love with Cecily Cardew, Mr Worthing’s grand-daughter and Jack’s ward. Cecily thinks that Algy is Jack’s brother Ernest, with whom she is already in love. The story develops around the two young men’s attempts to marry Gwendolen and Cecily respectively.
The second and third acts take place in the country where Cecily studies supervised by Miss Prism. Algernon then enters in the guise of Jack’s younger brother Ernest, and
begins to flirt with Cecily. Shortly afterwards Jack appears announcing the death of his brother. A comic situation is created when Algernon and Jack face each other. Even Gwendolen is shown in: jealousy and curiosity have brought her down to the country to find out more about Jack whom she knows only as Ernest. The two young women find that they seem to be engaged to an Ernest Worthing.


In the third act Lady Bracknell arrives and she refuses to allow a marriage with Algernon until she finds out that Cecily is the heiress to an immense fortune. Miss Prism confesses that she put the manuscript of a novel on which she had been working in the perambulator and had placed the baby in the hand-bag deposited at Victorian Station. Eventually Lady Bracknell is able to solve the riddle about Jack’s birth: he is the eldest son of her poor sister, Mrs Moncrieff, and therefore Algernon’s brother, and Jack’s real name is indeed Ernest.