Often categorised as a comedy of manners or satirical farce, e Importance of Being Earnest,creates a world that inverts reality where serious themes, such as marriage and class struggle, are trivialized and the trivial aspects of life, such as the amount of sugar in one’s tea, are treated as incredibly serious. Wilde was considered a proponent of the aesthetics or “art for art’s sake” movement.
He believed art should be the ultimate aim of any endeavor, and so he elevated the simple act of speech to an Olympic sport by having his characters compete with one another through his version of verbal gymnastics.
A discussion of British humor can be an entry point for students to begin to understand the language, period, and artistry of the Importance of Being Earnest. Having your students consider the following essential questions before, during, or after reading this
play (written over 100 years ago) might help them find its contemporary relevance.
This package includes full teaching package and worksheets for students.