Book Review: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

This play was surprisingly clever and hilarious– though I suppose I should not have been surprised as it is Oscar Wilde.

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This play was surprisingly clever and hilarious– though I suppose I should not have been surprised as it is Oscar Wilde.

About the Book

Title: The Importance of Being Earnest

Author: Oscar Wilde

Published: 1895

Series: (standalone)

Genre: classics, humor, plays

My Rating: 4/5 stars

The Premise

Synopsis (from Goodreads) (truncated):

“Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!”

My Thoughts

The story told in The Importance of Being Earnest is convoluted and comically coincidental. The characters do outrageous and unwise things in the name of love and mischief– such as assuming false identities and being way too concerned with the given names of their love interests.

It’s overall very entertaining to read due to the constant influx of clever witticisms and commentary, a la:

“Well I won’t argue about the matter. You always want to argue about things.”
“That is exactly what things were originally made for.”

or

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”

Not to mention the title, which I’m assumed was pun-intended.

The Verdict

Overall I found this play to be very funny with clever satire and I’d recommend reading it if you want something short and light-hearted. Also if you don’t mind a little quirkiness. 

Have you read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde? If so, what did you think of it? Feel free to leave a comment!

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