Literature of any era or civilization has some inimitable features and specialties in its lap around the globe. English literature has a vast collection of unique scriptures that other languages’ literature is void. Numerous writers paved the way for societal sectors towards improved alteration by rectifying prevailed ills and vices in the society (Zengin). “The Importance of Being Earnest” is such a great play by Scottish playwright Oscar Wilde in the late nineteenth century having a similar objective. It is a trivial comedy play having satire on ruthless social conventions, ill societal values, and predominant hideous norms of the Victorian era, especially of the upper-class elite. The main concern of the beautiful play gives colossal hits in humorous way to the dual nature and twofold behavior of upper elite personals of the society having vivid practices of Victorian ways (Alber et al.).
As far as the main plot of the play “The Importance of Being Earnest” is concerned, it is solely divided into three acts which can be called three long scenes of the play. Each act of the play is a massive continuous scene that comprises a specific part of the play, depicting itself as a collaborative unit. All the units coincide in a compact discrete manner. The play units catch audience discretion till its end to absorb the purpose of play in a comic style. Probably it is the impact of this division that the play is known as the enduringly popular work of Wilde (Flegar et al.).
The said structure poses and relates a remarkable effect on the audience and reader as this structure ensures connectivity and coherence with the story and overall play, just like neck and necklace. The structure of the play reveals step-by-step facts of the story, which gives it a unique shape. The manner of ease to absorb the message of the play lies in its structure. In the first act, the personals belonging to the upper class having dual faces meet with each other. The reality of Jack is revealed, but at the same time, it is hidden from ladies, i.e., Gwendolyn and her mother. The scene is complete in such a way that the audience eagerly moves towards the second one. Both main characters of the play bending the truth and realities of their lives, and the audience pick the writer’s point with much ease and look forward to the next act and scene (Haesche).
The structure of the play has enhanced beauty as well as polished the literary aroma of the piece of writing. The structure marks the clear distinction of class difference in a way the audience expects that in the next scene, the servant or lower class is presenting on the stage. The expression in the first act is so complete that it expects the same said presentation in the second act. If we keenly observe the units of play, it is vivid that all are a resemblance of complete scenes in all aspects. The structure looks like to prone the extra and unnecessary details in the play, and the comedy reaches to high mark with to the point and concise depiction of the play’s story.
Moreover, this division of the play has a significant correspond to the stages of plot development. The first act relates to the play’s exposition and provides gradual acceleration to the play’s story. The division of the play is so that the scene starts with meeting the leading roles with eagerness and reveals themselves to each other without wasting any further time. The arrival of ladies in the first play and jack’s proposal and its rejection even after a lovely assertion from Gwendolen gives projection to the play’s rising action. The second scene introduces some more characters of the play, and the activities involved in the play start to catch the audience’s attention. The comedy and arousal of laughers remain necessary parts of the play. The division of the play into said parts gains its purpose to fulfill the plot into subsequent stages (Rizzi).
However, this division of the play moves to “rising action” gradually as in the next scene and act, the meeting of Miss Prism and Cecily draws clear line between the mental priorities of both. After vigorous rising action, here reaches the play’s climax when both ladies know that nobody is Earnest to whom both of them love. The division of the play is corresponding to plot stages and elements. The lengthy rising action leads to the climax, and in turn, it proceeds towards resolution and conclusion in a speedy manner. The resolution undoubtedly is quickly taking place but reveals the most significant reality of the play with Jack’s original identity as Earnest. The resolution part is magically comic, and the division of play owns it at large and short.
Last but not least, the conclusion of the play, which is a happy ending to all the paring characters, logical ends with Jack’s mind-blowing statement, which depicts the mindset of the upper class in society. In this way, the structural division of the play concerning plot elements is justified. The structure and division of the play impose a step-by-step impact on its story and justify the stages of the plot, where the play has become a marvelous piece of literary works in the literary history of the English language.
Alber, Jan, and Alice Bell. “The importance of being earnest again: fact and fiction in contemporary narratives across media.” (2019): 121-135.
Flegar, Kaja Stemberger. “The importance of being earnest: Why precise language matters.” Community and Identity at the Edges of the Classical World (2020): 243-254.
Haesche, Sabrina. “Sabrina Haesche Final Project: Direction of the Play, The Importance of Being Earnest.” (2020).
Rizzi, Veronica. The Importance of Being Earnest On Stage and Screen. An analysis of the last Oscar Wilde’s play. BS thesis. Università Ca’Foscari Venezia, 2019.Zengin, Buğra, Ahmet Başal, and Ceyhun Yükselir. “Investigation into the perceptions of English teachers and instructors on the use of literature in English language teaching.” The Reading Matrix: An International Online Journal 19.1 (2019): 155-166.