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The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
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The Importance of Being Earnest

184 ratings, 20 reviews

The Importance of being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is Oscar Wilde's most popular and successful play. First performed in London in 1895, it ran for eighty-six performances. Wilde's play is a farcical romp in which the protagonists don fake personas to shirk the burdens of their social obligations. They are Algernon Moncrieff and Ernest Worthing, young gentlemen leading double lives. Algernon inquires why the cigarette case belonging to "Ernest" bears the name "Jack." Earnest confesses that while in the country taking care of his young ward Cecily, he's Jack; here he claims to be taking care of his profligate brother Earnest in London. When he's in London, however, he becomes the rakish Earnest. Algernon admits to the same ruse: while in country, he tells his London friends he's visiting an invalid friend named "Bunbury."

Wilde's hilarious and biting play pokes fun at the social order of Victorian England, while showcasing the author's classic witty epigrams (short, often paradoxical sayings) for which he is famous. Tragically the success of the opening night also brought about Wilde's end: the father Lord Alfred Douglas (Wilde's lover) had planned to present a bouquet of rotting vegetables to Wilde to interrupt the play, but Wilde was warned in advance, and the Marquess of Queensberry was barred entry. This began the famous trial that would lead to Wilde's persecution for homosexuality, and his eventual imprisonment and untimely death. But all of this might have been worth it to witness the hordes of Victorian socialites laughing uproariously… about themselves.

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Satyanarayana BO Reddy

July 14, 2014

It is one of the best plays


Rod Rodriguez

April 01, 2014



June H

December 03, 2013

It was a very enjoyable and funny story. The characters and the stage directions made the play so funny. A very good play that can be read again feeling as if it was the first time we had picked it up.


Marianne Haney

September 11, 2013

Witty and entertaining


Tehillah Adams

August 09, 2013

An easy, short, but witty read.


Shaun Pritchard

June 21, 2013



Scott Sargent

May 23, 2013

A great play. Although old, it is not dated. Its comedy and social commentary is relevant and appreciated.


Ignacio Gonzalez

February 07, 2013

An excellent comical satirical portray of the high Victorian society. Made me laugh and i felt identified with some attitudes from the eccentric characters. It is short, definitely worth reading.


Sarah Cooper

December 29, 2012

Trite, pat - classic Wilde that 'acts' itself off the page - fast paced, funny farce. Always worth a look


Maurice Posso

September 21, 2012

A briliant farce, which even today has you chuckling with ridiclous incidents.


Cyndie M

August 01, 2012

Remember reading in high school and enjoying. Just finished reading and loved the various types of humor throughout. Fast and easy read.


Michael Bell

July 30, 2012

One of the most intellectual comedic works you'll find. Example: "If you are not too long, I shall wait for you forever." Another: "If you like that sort of thing, then that's the sort of thing you'd like." A farce that should in everyone's library. John Worthing is the perfect straight man for Algy. It's a don't-miss!


Andjelko Topic

July 25, 2012

Even though the book is called the importance of being earnest, now that I finished the book, I'll be bunburying in every opportunity I get. :3


John Noon

June 21, 2012

Fantastic plot. I'll be reading a lot more of Oscar.


Marion Nicolson

June 06, 2012



Rebeka Pena

April 01, 2012

Huh hmmm kinda funny


Danny McClung

March 16, 2012

Been burnbuying lately?


Toby Rooney

February 17, 2012

This is a hilarious book and I'd be happy to read it again. I've seen to versions of the film and I'd love to see it in a play!


Louise Copley

January 08, 2012

Absolutely hilarious- this makes me laugh out loud at the hidden punchlines!


Logan Treaster

October 25, 2011

I first started reading this when I was in the eight grade. I found it interesting that my teacher would make us read it. Even though I have yet to finish it I think it is a good read for high schoolers.