Importance Of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest, one serious theme that I noticed was the
consistent act of deception throughout the entire play. However this lack of
honesty was not lonesome for insightful comedy and a visible foreshadowing of
upcoming events accompanied it. Meaning that the play was cleverly written with
humor and provided us with an obvious chain of facts that would lead up to us
unraveling the end of the play. This play critiques the need to lie or
exaggerate the truth, in order to "fit in" the norm of English society
during the 1890’s. The unique characters in this play portray a nonchalant
attitude along with subtle gestures in a tribute to not being (earnest); they
were not being honest. Specifically, they all had unique characteristics that
made it easier for them to not being honest. They also did little things that
supported their insincere personalities. This obvious hypocrisy can be noted as
early as the first act of the play. Such a case as when Algernon’s servant,

Lane, openly lies and says..."(Gravely.) There were no cucumbers in the market
this morning, sir. I went down twice." (p.38) This is where the first of many
lies throughout the play originates. Even though one could consider this lie an
unselfish lie, since Lane lied for his master and not himself, it is still lie,
whether it is a white lie or more. The exposure of this lie sets the mood of the
play, a mood of deception. Carrying out the chain, Jack lies about his name
being Ernest, a name that impresses Gwendolen. If only he originally knew the
irony within the truth, he really is Ernest. He evades his association with

Cecily "Well if you have to know, Cecily happens to be my aunt." (p.32) Why
does the playwright, Wilde, choose to have Jack dispense such a composite
scripture of deception? Meaning that Wilde depicted Jack’s character as a
person who from the beginning of the play, was lying. Furthermore, these lies
did not cease for they just evolved into more and more, thus creating composite
lies that go hand in hand with one another. My guess for this attribute would be
to show the ridiculousness of the need to have a prestigious family, unnecessary
attributes to show for one-self and a name that show everything that you are
not. Algernon’s character proves to be as tricky as Jack, "In fact, now that
you mention the subject, I have been very bad in my own small way." (p.61)

Both seem to have a fixed fascination in depicting themselves as someone that
they are not. This point is emphasized by the way Jack and Algernon jumped at
the idea to be christened under the name of Ernest, which shows how their lack
of moral values is further revealed. Furthermore, the variation on one’s
personality seems to be beneficial not only to the male characters, but also to
the female characters such as Gwendolen and Cecily. These two particular
characters find comfort and trivial value in the name Ernest since all they
wanted to do was marry a man who holds that name. Sometimes there is just a
natural progression of lies. Once it starts, it continues and that is evident
within the characters of this play. That is why there is always an "Importance
of Being Earnest".