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The Importance of Being Earnest: And Other Playsby Oscar Wilde
Synopses & Reviews
Scene-Morning-room of Lord Windermere's house in Carlton House Terrace.Doors C. and R. Bureau with books and papers R. Sofa with small tea-table L. Window opening on to terrace L. Table R. (Lady Windermere is at table R., arranging roses in a blue bowl.) (Enter Parker.
Parker. Is your ladyship at home this afternoon?
Lady Windermere. Yes-who has called?
Parker. Lord Darlington, my lady.
Lady Windermere. (Hesitates for a moment.) Show him up—and I'm at home to any one who calls. Parker. Yes, my lady. (Exit C.
Lady Windermere. It's best for me to see him before to-night. I’m glad he’s come. (Enter Parker C.
Parker. Lord Darlington. (Enter Lord Darlington C. (Exit Parker.
Lord Darlington. How do you do, Lady Windermere?
Lady Windermere. How do you do, Lord Darlington? No, I can't shake hands with you. My hands are all wet with these roses. Aren't they lovely? They came up from Selby this morning.
Lord Darlington. They are quite perfect. (Sees a fan lying on the table.) And what a wonderful fan May I look at it?
Lady Windermere. Do. Pretty, isn't it It’s got my name on it, and everything. I have only just seen it myself. It’s my husband’s birthday present to me. You know to-day is my birthday?
Lord Darlington. No? Is it really?
Lady Windermere. Yes, I'm of age to-day. Quite an important day in my life, isn't it? That is why I am giving this party to-night. Do sit down. (Still arranging flowers.)
Lord Darlington. (Sitting down.) I wish I had known it was your birthday, Lady Windermere. I would have covered the whole street in front of your house with flowers for you to walk on. They are made for you. (A short pause.)
Lady Windermere. Lord Darlington, you annoyed me last night at the Foreign Office. I am afraid you are going to annoy me again.
Lord Darlington. I, Lady Windermere? (Enter Parker and Footman C., with tray and tea things.
Lady Windermere. Put it there, Parker. That will do. (Wipes her hands with her pocket-handkerchief, goes to tea-table L., and sits down.) Won't you come over, Lord Darlington? (Exit Parker C.
Lord Darlington. (Takes chair and goes across L.C.) I am quite miserable, Lady Windermere. You must tell me what I did. (Sits down at table L.)
Lady Windermere. Well, you kept paying me elaborate compliments the whole evening.
Lord Darlington. (Smiling.) Ah, now-a-days we are all of us so hard up, that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They're the only things we can pay.
Lady Windermere. (Shaking her head.) No, I am talking very seriously. You mustn't laugh, I am quite serious. I don’t like compliments, and I don’t see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean.
Lord Darlington. Ah, but I did mean them. (Takes tea which she offers him.)
Lady Windermere. (Gravely.) I hope not. I should be sorry to have to quarrel with you, Lord Darlington. I like you very much, you know that. But I shouldn't like you at all if I thought you were what most other men are. Believe me, you are better than most other men, and I sometimes think you pretend to be worse.
Lord Darlington. We all have our little vanities, Lady Windermere.
Oscar Wilde created his final and most lasting play, comic masterpieces of all time, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, in 1895. Considered one of the greatest THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is a farce, playing with love, religion, and truth as it tells the tale of two men. Jack, Worthing and Algernon Mon crieff, who bend the truth in order to add excitement to their lives. Jack invents an imaginary brother, Ernest, whom he uses as an excuse to escape from his dull country home and gallavant in town. Meanwhile, Algernon follows Jack's scam, but his imaginary friend, Bumbury, provides a convenient method of adventuring in the country. However, their deceptions eventually cross paths, resulting in a series of crises that threaten to spoil their romantic pursuits. Hailed as the first modern comedy in England, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is Wilde's most famous work. This collection also features two other plays that Wilde penned earlier in his career, LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN and AN IDEAL HUSBAND, that also display his ability to convey warmth and wit through his hilarious characters and their outlandish situations.
Table of Contents
Lady Windermere's fan — An ideal husband — The importance of being earnest.
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