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Discuss the treatment of Love and Marriage in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Discuss the treatment of Love and Marriage in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Welcome to English with Saddam. Since you are a student of the English Department at the national university, I, Md Saddam Hossain, the founder of the best English literature coaching center in Narayanganj, am here to help you get a high band in your Modern Drama subject for 4th year. In this blog, I will give you the answer to the treatment of love and marriage in The Importance of Being Earnest.



Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a masterpiece of his literary career. Here, the writer has presented the treatment of love and marriage, which is the drama’s main theme.



“The Importance of Being Earnest” introduces us to three pairs of lovers. They are Jack Worthing and Gwendolen Fairfax, Algernon and Cecily Cardew, and the lesser level of love between Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble. Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble’s romantic journey in “The Importance of Being Earnest” encounters a peculiar obstacle—the mistaken love affairs of Gwendolen and Cecily with a man named Ernest. This twist creates comedic situations as the two ladies argue over whether it is the same Ernest who proposed to them. Amidst the amusing chaos, Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble, both celibates, express a willingness to embrace matrimony later in life, presenting a subplot that adds a twist of humor and irony to the overall narrative.




“Well, my name is Earnest in town and Jack in the country.”



Jack is the ward of Cecily in the countryside. He assumes the name of Earnest, a fictional and reckless mane. In the guise of ‘Earnest,’ he often goes to London. Here he gets an opportunity to court Gwendolen, the only daughter of Lady Bracknell, a British aristocratic member. Gwendolen loves Jack just because he goes by the name Earnest. The name gives her a feeling of trust and confidence. Therefore, she cannot think of marrying someone with another name. Then she says,



“The moment Algernon mentioned that he had a friend named Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.”



Even before she has seen her guardian, Cecily is fascinated with the name of Ernest. Jack’s fictitious younger brother, Ernest, who lives an immoral life in London, is the perpetual cause of anxiety to her dear Uncle Jack. Algernon wonders if Gwendolen could have loved him if he had a different name, adding a touch of curiosity to their conversation. Cecily makes a negative reply. However, the complexity is resolved when both the men are determined to be christened as Earnest. Hearing this, Gwendolen praises their spirit of sacrifice. They agreed to do so because of their love.



Dr. Chasuble is another ridiculous figure. He is attracted to Miss Prism. She teaches German to Cecily. Although he has appointed her to Cecily’s governess, he desires to be her student. He might hang upon her lips just like bees kiss the flowers and suck honey from it. It shows his sexual attraction to Miss Prism. It creates excellent laughter among the readers. Here lies his ridiculous saying,  



“Were I fortunate enough to be Miss Prism’s pupil, I would hang upon her lips.”



The main problem they face is getting Lady Bracknell’s marriage approval. She doesn’t like the idea of Jack marrying her daughter Gwendolen because she doesn’t know about his family background. However, things take a surprising turn when the secret about Jack’s birth comes out. He is Algernon’s older brother and Lady Bracknell’s nephew. This is clear when Bracknell says,



“I am afraid that the news I have to give you will not altogether please you. You are the son of my poor sister.”



Later, Jack questions Lady Bracknell about what his original name was. She says that he was named after his father. As soon as he hears it, he searches it under the Army Lists. Finally, they learn his full name is Ernest John Moncrieff. Thus, the complexities become clear. All three pairs—Chasuble and Miss Prism, Algernon and Cecily, and Jack and Gwendolen—come together in a warm embrace. Jack then shares with Lady Bracknell that he has finally understood something meaningful for the first time in his life, “the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”



However, the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde ends with the self-actualization of the three love affairs after the temporary obstacles in the way of the lovers. Finally, they are set to get married establishing the drama based on the theme of love and marriage.  



Thank you very much for reading our blog. I try my heart and soul to help the students of English literature by providing the best handnotes. I hope you have enjoyed the content- the treatment of Love and Marriage in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Keep in touch with us for more similar question answers of Hons 4th Year, Modern Drama. 

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Saddam Hossain

Founder & Language Instructor

Apart from English language and literature skill, I’m a Digital Marketer & Content Writer at My Writing Pen, BD Business Finder, NY Bizlisting.

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