The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde
2:21 h Novels Lvl 8.13
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways.

The Importance of Being Earnest

A Trivial Comedy for Serious People

by
Oscar Wilde


The Persons in the Play

John Worthing, J.P.
Algernon Moncrieff
Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.
Merriman, Butler
Lane, Manservant
Lady Bracknell
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax
Cecily Cardew
Miss Prism, Governess


First Act

Scene

Morning-room in Algernon’s flat in Half-Moon Street. The room is luxuriously and artistically furnished. The sound of a piano is heard in the adjoining room.

[Lane is arranging afternoon tea on the table, and after the music has ceased, Algernon enters.]

ALGERNON.
Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?

LANE.
I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir.

ALGERNON.
I’m sorry for that, for your sake. I don’t play accurately — any one can play accurately — but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.

LANE.
Yes, sir.

ALGERNON.
And, speaking of the science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell?

LANE.
Yes, sir. [Hands them on a salver.]

ALGERNON.
[Inspects them, takes two, and sits down on the sofa.] Oh!… by the way, Lane, I see from your book that on Thursday night, when Lord Shoreman and Mr. Worthing were dining with me, eight bottles of champagne are entered as having been consumed.

LANE.
Yes, sir; eight bottles and a pint.

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