Earnest Critical Analysis

1306 Words6 Pages
when the ending is taken in light of Miss Prism’s commentary, one should start to wonder what Wilde is trying to say in ending his play in such a clichéd manner. Though the main characters’ actions portray them to be scatterbrained and foolish, taking trivial matters seriously and serious matters trivially, they haven’t necessarily done anything terrible, as their actions do little to harm others inside or outside of their social circles, and they haven’t done much good, either. Not only does Wilde’s ending follow the “rules of fiction”, he follows these rules so judiciously that Earnest takes on the air of parody. Earnest’s plot follows an outline of a cheesy romance story—two or more individuals fall in love at first sight, some conflict…show more content…
Though Wilde tells us that Cecily is “not a romantic girl”, the flakiness of Jack and Algernon lend us to expect her to be the opposite—and Wilde knows this. Instead of make Cecily out to be the typical damsel in love so common in romance novels, he makes her a damsel who has gone a bit loony with love. So when Wilde ends his play by both invoking its title and giving it a double meaning, he’s able to end on the same key that the play has had all along: maintaining a saccharine tone while presenting an unpredictably predictable revelation. In a way, The Importance of Being Earnest sets its audience up to understand its title. Most people would assume that Earnest is, well, about some person realizing the importance of being earnest. In reality, Earnest ends up being about characters who think they’ve realized the importance of being earnest (or Ernest) in their own eccentric way. By ending the play on its title, Wilde is able to close the curtains on his three-part fiction, and open the curtains on the audience’s next act about the importance of being earnest. In other words, act IV of Earnest exists in what the audience take away from
Open Document