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The Importance of Being Earnest facts for kids

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The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest - Cigarettecase.jpg
The original production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895 with Allan Aynesworth as Algernon (left) and George Alexander as Jack (right)
Written by Oscar Wilde
Date of premiere 1895
Place of premiere St James's Theatre,
London, England, UK
Original language English
Genre Comedy, farce
Setting London and an estate in Hertfordshire

The Importance of being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. It was first performed on 14 February 1895 at St. James's Theatre in London. In the play, the protagonists make up people who are not real to try to make their lives easier. The play's most important themes are the light humourous way it treats serious things like marriages and the satire of Victorian ways. At the time the play came out, reviews all praised the play's humour. However, some people wanted better social messages, while others thought that it was the best play Wilde had ever written. It is Wilde's most popular play.

The plot is about two men who try to woo their respective lovers by convincing each that their name is Ernest. The play includes many puns and plays on words. Even the title is a pun, because "Ernest" is a man's name and "earnest" is a word that means "serious, honest, and sincere." The play is about morality, style, and hypocrisy, among others, but it is noted for being humorous and lighthearted.

The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, father of Lord Alfred Douglas, Wilde's lover, planned to present Wilde a bouquet of spoiling vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off, and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards the feud came to a climax in court, and Wilde's new notoriety caused the play, despite its success, to be closed after just 86 performances. After imprisonment, he wrote no further comic or dramatic work. The Importance of Being Earnest has been revived many times since its premiere and adapted for the cinema on three occasions, in 1952, 1992 and 2002.

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