Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
- What is aestheticism? (See also 1015.)
The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
- Why did Wilde sue the Marquess of Queensberry in 1895?
- What is the play's philosophy?
- Why has Jack lied about Cecily? Why has he lied about his
- Explain: "The amount of women in London who flirt
with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous. . . .
It is simply washing one's clean linen in public" (947).
- Explain Lady Bracknell's suggestion that "An engagement
should come on a young girl as a surprise" (951).
- Explain Lady Bracknell's claim that "Ignorance is like a
delicate exotic fruit" (952).
- Explain: "To lose one parent
may be regarded as a misfortune--to lose both seems likes
- Why does Lady Bracknell refuse to consent to Jack's
engagement to Gwendolen?
- Explain Jack's claim that "The truth isn't quite the sort
of thing that one tells to a nice sweet refined girl" (955).
Other Discussion Questions:
- Explain: "The
Importance of Being Earnest empties manners and
morals of their underlying sense to create a nominalist world
where earnest is not a quality of character but a name" (942).
- Describe the relationship between Algernon and Lane.
- Why does Algernon believe that "the lower orders . . .
have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility" (943).
- Why are cucumber sandwiches a "reckless extravagance"
- Explain: "The very essence of romance is uncertainty"
- Why does Jack believe that Cecily and Gwendolen will call
each other sister? How is this ironic?
- Why is Algernon pretending to be Ernest?
- Why has Jack returned early from his trip?
- Why does Jack want to be christened?
- How have "Ernest" and Cecily been engaged before meeting
- Explain Gwendolen's views on man's "domestic duties."
- Explain: "Flowers are as common here . . . as
people are in London" (971).
- Why are Jack and Algernon going to be (re)christened?
- Explain Gwendolen's remark: "In matters of grave
importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing" (976).
- Explain Gwendolen's remark about the equality of the sexes.
- Who is Egeria? Should Miss Prism know who she
- What is the significance of Australia?
- Why does Cecily want to marry a man named Ernest?
- Why has Gwendolen arrived?
- Why does Gwendolen want Cecily to call her sister? (See
- Why does Jack refuse to consent to Cecily's marrying
- Why does Jack assume Miss Prism is his mother?
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