Teacher Guide

The Importance of Being Earnest Lesson Plan

Introduction to The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest is a farcical comedy of manners intended to amuse the audience through clever wordplay and subversive satire of Victorian morality. The play was a critical success in its premiere production in 1895, though it received some criticism for being overly frivolous at a time when popular plays typically dealt with dramatic or political subject matter. The dramatist George Bernard Shaw notably criticized the play in the "Saturday Review", arguing that comedy should powerfully move an audience as well as amuse, noting that the play was Wilde's "first really heartless [play]". Yet, in lampooning the cultural mores of his time, Wilde brought the absurdism of...

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