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. Some contemporary reviews praised the play's humour and the culmination of Wilde's artistic career, while others were cautious about its lack of social messages.
Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play. The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The
Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity of Queensberrywhose son Lord Alfred Douglas was Wilde's lover, planned to present the writer with a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show.
Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Their feud came to a climax in court, where Wilde's homosexuality was revealed to the Victorian public and he was sentenced to imprisonment. After his release from prison, he published the play from exile in Paris, but he wrote no further comic or dramatic work.
The Importance of Being Earnest has been revived many times since its premiere. It has been adapted for the cinema on three occasions. Wilde spent the summer with his family at Worthingwhere he wrote the play quickly in August. Gilbert 's farce Engaged from which Wilde borrowed not only several incidents but also "the gravity of tone demanded by Gilbert of his actors".
Wilde continually revised the text over the next months. No line was "Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity" untouched and the revision had significant consequences.
The earliest and longest handwritten drafts of the play labour over farcical incidents, broad puns, nonsense Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity and conventional comic turns. In revising, "Wilde transformed standard nonsense into the more systemic and disconcerting illogicality which characterises Earnest's dialogue". Wilde agreed and
Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity elements of the second and third acts.
Gribsby, a solicitor who comes from London to arrest the profligate "Ernest" i. Some consider the three-act structure more effective and theatrically resonant than the expanded published edition. The Marquess of Queensberrythe father of Wilde's lover Lord Alfred Douglas who was on holiday in Algiers at the timehad planned to disrupt the play by throwing a bouquet of rotten vegetables at the playwright when he took his bow at the end of the show.
Wilde and Alexander learned of the plan, and the latter cancelled Queensberry's ticket and arranged for policemen to bar his entrance. Nevertheless, he continued harassing Wilde, who eventually launched a private prosecution against the peer for criminal libeltriggering a series of trials ending in Wilde's imprisonment for gross indecency.
Alexander tried, unsuccessfully, to save the production by removing Wilde's name from the billing, [n 2] but the play had to close after only 86 performances. The play's original Broadway production opened at the Empire Theatre on 22 Aprilbut closed after sixteen performances.
In contrast to much theatre of the time, The Importance of Being Earnest light plot does not tackle serious social and political issues, something of which contemporary reviewers were wary. Though unsure of Wilde's seriousness as a dramatist, they recognised the play's cleverness, humour and popularity with audiences. In The SpeakerA. Walkley admired the play and was one of few to see it as the culmination of Wilde's dramatic career.
He denied the term "farce" was derogatory, or even lacking in seriousness, and said "It is of nonsense all compact, and better nonsense, I think, our stage has not seen. Wellsin an unsigned review for The Pall Mall Gazettecalled Earnest one of the freshest Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity of the year, saying "More humorous dealing with theatrical conventions it would be difficult to imagine.
Auden later [ when? The Importance of Being Earnest is Wilde's most popular work and is continually revived. The Importance of Being Earnest and Wilde's three other society plays were performed in Britain during the author's imprisonment and exile, albeit by small touring companies.
Tapping's company toured Earnest between October and March their performance at the Theatre Royal, Limerick, in the last week of October was almost certainly the first production of the play in Ireland. Elsie Lanham's company also toured 'Earnest' between November and April A collected edition of Wilde's works, published in and edited by Robert Rosshelped to restore his reputation as an author.
Alexander presented another revival of Earnest at Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity St James's inwhen he and Aynesworth reprised their original roles;  revival ran for performances. For a revival at the same theatre the young actors Gerald Ames and A.
Matthews succeeded the creators as Jack and Algy. It was not until the s that the case for s costumes was established; as a critic in The Manchester Guardian put it, "Thirty years on, one begins to feel that Wilde should be done in the costume of his period—that his wit today needs the backing of the atmosphere that gave it life and truth.
The Times considered the production the best since the original, and praised it for its fidelity to Wilde's conception, its "airy, responsive ball-playing quality.
During a season at the Haymarket the King and Queen attended a performance,  which, as the journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft put it, gave the play "a final accolade of respectability.
As Wilde's work came to be read and performed again, it was The Importance of Being Earnest that received the most productions. The play was also presented internationally, in Singapore, in Octoberby the British Theatre Playhouse and the same company brought it to London's Greenwich Theatre in April The play is set in "The Present" i.
The play opens with Algernon Moncrieff, an idle young gentlemanreceiving his best friend, Jack Worthing 'Ernest'. Ernest has come from the country to propose to Algernon's cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax. Algernon refuses to consent until explains why his cigarette case bears the inscription, "From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack. In the country, he assumes a serious attitude for the benefit of his young wardthe heiress Cecily Cardew, and goes by the name of John or Jackwhile pretending that he must worry about a wastrel younger Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity named Ernest in London.
In the city, meanwhile, he assumes the identity of the libertine Ernest. Algernon confesses a similar deception: Jack refuses to tell Algernon the location of his country estate.
Gwendolen and her formidable mother Lady Bracknell now call on Algernon who distracts Lady Bracknell in another room while Jack proposes to Gwendolen. She accepts, but seems to love him in large part because of his name, Ernest. Jack accordingly resolves to himself to be rechristened "Ernest". Discovering them in this intimate exchange, Lady Bracknell interviews Jack as a prospective suitor.
Horrified to learn that he was adopted after being discovered as a baby in a handbag at Victoria Station, she refuses him and forbids further contact with her daughter. Gwendolen manages to covertly promise to him her undying love. As Jack gives her his address in the country, Algernon surreptitiously notes it on the cuff of his sleeve: Jack's revelation of his pretty and wealthy young ward has motivated his friend
Bunbury wilde homosexuality and christianity meet her.
Cecily is studying with her governessMiss Prism. Algernon arrives, pretending to be Ernest Worthing, and soon charms Cecily. Long fascinated by Uncle Jack's hitherto absent black sheep brother, she is predisposed to fall for Algernon in his role of Ernest a name she is apparently particularly fond of.
Therefore, Algernon, too, plans for the rectorDr. Chasuble, to rechristen him "Ernest". Jack has decided to abandon his double life.
He arrives in full mourning and announces his death in Paris of a severe chill, a story undermined by Algernon's presence in the guise of Ernest. Gwendolen now enters, having run away from home.