Jack and Gwendolen are in love, but Gwendolen knows him only as Ernest – his name being the reason she loves him. In reality, Jack is leading a double life, becoming Ernest when he wishes to escape the responsibilities of his life in the country. On the pretext of rescuing an imaginary brother called Ernest, he flees to London, where he seeks the pleasures of the city and courts his beloved Gwendolen. When her imperious mother, Lady Bracknell, dashes the lovers’ hopes of marriage, the pair devise a plan to meet secretly. Meanwhile Algernon (Gwendolen’s cousin and Jack’s good friend), who also has a perfect excuse for disappearing whenever he needs to, becomes interested in Jack’s pretty ward Cecily – who is in love with Jack’s imaginary brother, Ernest.
The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s last and most brilliant play, portrays the English upper class with sharp observation and dazzling wit.
This volume includes an extensive introduction, a biography, notes to the text, activities for comprehension and analysis, an appendix on the historical context of the play. Audio recordings with extensive key dialogues can be downloaded in MP3 format.