The Importance of  Being Earnest    By Oscar Wilde     (1854-1900)
The Importance of Being Earnest   Written in 1895   A Comedy in 3 Acts   Is a satire   Immediate hit when first perfor...
Main Characters   John Worthing, aka         Lady Bracknell,    “Jack”, aka “Earnest”       mother of Gwendolyn   Alger...
Settings   Time: Around 1890   Place(s):       London (“the City”)       Jack’s House in the Country (a very large est...
Settings   Jack’s    Country    House
Settings   Jack’s    Drawing    Room
Settings   Lady    Bracknell’s    mansion in    London
Victorian Period   Named for Queen Victoria of England   Was Queen from 1837-1901   Followed the reign of “Mad” King Ge...
Queen Victoria                    Became Queen as a                     young girl                    Married Albert, Pr...
Victorian Period   Manners were supremely important   English society was divided into classes   The Upper-class was we...
Victorian Period   Young women were always chaperoned until they    were married   Women’s clothing covered them from ne...
Victorian Fashion                       For the                        Gentlemen
Victorian Fashion                       For the Ladies
Victorian Period   People did not just “drop in” to visit - they    made formal appointments   Refreshments were expecte...
Oscar Wilde - Author   Born in Ireland; lived in England and abroad   Attended Trinity College in Ireland and Oxford    ...
Oscar Wilde   With other writers and artists, rebelled against the    prim, moral, religious culture of Victorian England...
Oscar Wilde   Handsome   Loved clothes   Could be quite    dramatic   Completely    unique
Oscar Wilde   Came from upper-class family   Brilliant writer   Loved to shock people   “Bad Boy” of his time   Never...
Literary Vocabulary   Comedy - light-hearted literature with    humor and a happy ending   Satire - literary writing tha...
Literary Vocabulary   Protagonist - the main character   Foil - the character who contrasts the main    character (the f...
Literary Vocabulary   Motif - a recurring character or element    repeated in a literary work. Food is a motif    in The ...
The Importance of Being Earnest   Oscar Wilde created    many amusing quotes
Oscar Wilde Quotes   “I always pass on good advice. It is    the only thing to do with it. It is never    of any use to o...
Oscar Wilde Quotes   “I never travel without my diary. One    should always have something    sensational to read in the ...
The Importance of Being Earnest   Even though this play was written more    than 100 years ago, it continues to be very  ...
Importance of Being Earnest   The title of the play is a pun.   To be “earnest” means to be serious, and    the main cha...
Importance of Being Earnest   What have you learned so far?   Know the characters, the setting, the plot   Know the bas...
Importance of Being Earnest   You have come to the end of the    PowerPoint   You are ready to begin the play!
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  1. 1. The Importance of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
  2. 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. 3. Main Characters John Worthing, aka  Lady Bracknell, “Jack”, aka “Earnest” mother of Gwendolyn Algernon Montcrief,  Gwendolyn, wants to Jack’s friend marry a man named Lane, the butler for “Earnest” Algernon  Cecily, Jack’s ward Rev. Chausible, the preacher in the  Miss Prism, Cecily’s country governess
  4. 4. Settings Time: Around 1890 Place(s):  London (“the City”)  Jack’s House in the Country (a very large estate)  The village church
  5. 5. Settings Jack’s Country House
  6. 6. Settings Jack’s Drawing Room
  7. 7. Settings Lady Bracknell’s mansion in London
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. Queen Victoria  Became Queen as a young girl  Married Albert, Prince Consort and adored him  After he died, she wore black for the rest of her life  Had 9 children  Created a culture that valued family and stability
  10. 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. 11. Victorian Period Young women were always chaperoned until they were married Women’s 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. 12. Victorian Fashion  For the Gentlemen
  13. 13. Victorian Fashion  For the Ladies
  14. 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. 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 art’s sake” - art (literature) should not be concerned with political issues Wrote several plays, but only one novel Novel: The Picture of Dorian Gray
  16. 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. 17. Oscar Wilde Handsome Loved clothes Could be quite dramatic Completely unique
  18. 18. Oscar Wilde Came from upper-class family Brilliant writer Loved to shock people “Bad Boy” of his time Never allowed to see his family again Spent the remainder of his life in Paris Died alone and poor in Paris
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. Literary Vocabulary Motif - a recurring character or element repeated in a literary work. Food is a motif in The Importance of Being Earnest Protagonist - the main character
  22. 22. The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde created many amusing quotes
  23. 23. Oscar Wilde Quotes “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself. “ “I can resist everything except temptation. “
  24. 24. Oscar Wilde Quotes “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. “ “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”
  25. 25. The Importance of Being Earnest Even though this play was written more than 100 years ago, it continues to be very popular More than one movie has been made of this play, the most recent in the past 5-10 years This play is currently being performed on Broadway in New York City (through June)
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. Importance of Being Earnest What have you learned so far? Know the characters, the setting, the plot Know the basic facts about the author Know the basic facts of Victorian England Know the literary vocabulary required Understand that this play is a comedy
  28. 28. Importance of Being Earnest You have come to the end of the PowerPoint You are ready to begin the play!

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