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The play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde definitely proved itself to be ?A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.? I saw the play at Lindenwood University?s Jelkyl Theatre. The play was long, in a three-act structure, yet it moved along at a good pace. They did a nice job of preparing the audience, there was an interesting lobby display with sketches of each of the costumes with fabric samples and they played music to fit the time period before the show began.

The first of Aristotle?s six components of theatre is plot. This play had an intricate and definitely interesting plot. The story begins with Ernest visiting his friend Algernon, or Algy, at his house in town. Through comical discussion, Algy soon realizes that Ernest?s real name is Jack, and that he is known as Jack at his home in the country. He simply invented the character of Ernest, his supposed evil brother, for an excuse to visit the city more often. Algernon then confesses that he also has a ficticious friend for an escape from reality. His name is Bunbury, and he is a permanent invalid whose illnesses often allow Algernon to escape from unpleasant social engagements. Jack is beginning to worry, because people back home are gaining curiosity as to why they have never met his brother. So, he and Algernon compose a plan. Jack will simply come home very upset and tell everyone that Ernest has died of a ?severe chill.? This seems like the perfect plan. However, Algernon decides that he wants to meet Jack?s people from the country, especially his eighteen -year old ward Cecily, so Algernon shows up at Jack?s townhouse pretending to be Ernest, Jack?s brother. Everyone is very excited to finally meet him and immediately Ernest(Algernon) and Cecily fall in love. The two of them go inside for refreshments when a very shaken Jack arrives explaining to everyone that Ernest is dead. Everyone is a bit surprised by this, since Ernest is supposedly there. Jack, distrustful of Algernon’s intentions toward Cecily, orders Algernon to leave by the next train. Algernon and Cecily say their goodbyes, and Cecily confesses she has been deeply in love with “Ernest” for a year and has made entries in her diary detailing the courtship. Algernon, wishing to stay “Ernest” for Cecily’s sake, rushes off to the church to be rechristened “Ernest.” Gwendolen, Algernon?s cousin, who happens to be engaged to Jack whom she believes to be Ernest, arrives from London looking for Jack/Ernest and is escorted into the garden to meet Cecily. They sit down to afternoon tea and accidentally discover they are both in love with “Ernest Worthing.” Jack and Algernon return to the garden, are confronted by their lovers, and admit their true identities. Gwendolen and Cecily, each with her heart set on loving someone by the name of Ernest, retreat indoors together. Gwendolen and Cecily decide to forgive Jack and Algernon their indiscretions and promise to marry them. Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen?s mother, makes a surprise visit in order to retrieve Gwendolen. When she learns of Cecily’s great fortune, she gives her consent to Algernon’s marriage to Cecily. Jack refuses to give his consent, however, unless he is allowed to wed Gwendolen. Chasuble arrives to rechristen both young men when Miss Prism’s, Cecily?s teacher, name is mentioned. Lady Bracknell recognizes the name and asks that she be sent for. Miss Prism reveals she had been previously employed as governess to Lady Bracknell’s sister (Algernon’s mother) but that one day she failed to come home with the baby in her charge. Miss Prism further admits to leaving her unpublished manuscript in the baby carriage while placing the baby in a black leather handbag.

Jack runs upstairs and retrieves the black handbag in which he was found. The handbag, indeed, belonged to Miss Prism, and Jack was the lost baby. Jack, it turns out is Algernon’s older brother. In a bid to discover his real name, Jack makes a check of historical military records and discovers his real name is that of his late father, Ernest! Ernest is now free to marry Gwendolen, and Algernon may marry Cecily.

Character is the next of Aristotle?s six components, and each of the characters in this play are quite developed. The main character?s name is Algernon Moncrieff, He is of a pretty high social status, and is known as one of London?s eligible bachelors. He definitely has a snobby attitude, believing he is better than most; however, the character is portrayed in a funny rather than ignorant manor. His friend Jack Worthing is an all together different story. He admits that he was adopted because someone left him in the cloak room at a railstation when he was merely an infant. Jack is a little less snobby, yet he seems to over exaggerate most things. Gwendolen Fairfax is Algernon?s cousin and also of high social status. She


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