"The Importance of Being Earnest" has been playing to packed audiences for over a hundred years. Why do you think it has remained so popular?
"The Importance of Being Earnest" was first performed in 1895. The year marked the beginning of Oscar Wilde's "disgrace". Lord Alfred Douglas's father, the Marquis of Queensbury, began his campaign against Wilde. He was to die in 1900.
One of the main reasons that the play has been so popular for over 100 years is because of the plot. This situation comedy is so light-hearted and has a happy, and rather unrealistic ending. The mix-up about the three couples makes you come out of the play extremely pleased and happy with the way that your life is going, as well as being positive. The neat plan of Situation -> Chaos -> Resolution is seen as very clever to many people, making the way that the play was wrote appealing to any age group.
Bunburying is one of the main causes of chaos in this play as this quote shows, Algernon Moncrieff is himself a keen Bunburyist. "That is absurd. One has a right to Bunbury anywhere one chooses. Every serious Bunburyist knows that." Yet, this is not the only factor that has contributed to making this amazing play last over 100 years. Another quotation, this time to show the resolution is the last line in the play "On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I've now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest."
All the characters in this play are very strong in their metaphysical behaviour. Well they have to be, to compete with Lady Bracknell's caricature. Wilde has demonstrated what Lady Bracknell would have been like very well when she was younger in a mirror image, which is her...