Oscar Wilde’s life and art are very closely linked. He was born and grew up in Dublin; his father was a famous doctor while his mother was a translator and a nationalist poet.
After graduating in classical studies at Trinity College, he won a scholarship to Oxford, where he met Pater and Ruskin, who introduced him to their aesthetic theories.
He settled in London where he became a popular dandy and he charmed everybody with his brilliant conversation.
In 1881 he published his first volume of poems.
He became an spokesman for the school “art for art’s sake” and in 1882 he gave a lecture tour in American, where he said “I have nothing to declare but my genius”.
However he did some witty comedies very important.
In 1895 he was arrested, in fact he had married Costance Llyod with whome he had two children, and Marquis of Queensberry accused him of having a homosexual relationship with his son, Douglas.
At the end, he was buried in Paris in the same cemetery of Baudelaire.
The importance of being Earnest
The title contains a play on words, because the word earnest (that means serious and sincere) is pronounced in the same way as the name Ernest.
The protagonists are Jack and Algy. They both have a double life; Jack, when he visits the city, is called Ernest. Jack, to protect his reputation, convinces a young girl, Cecily Cardew, that Ernest is his brother.
One day, Jack falls in love with Fairfax. In the same time, Algy has invented a fictitious friend, the sickly Bunbury. When he want to escape from his family, he says that he has to go to visit his sickly friend.
One day, Algy falls in love with Cecily Cardew; Cecily thinks that Algy is Jack’s brother Earnest, with whom she is already in love.
After many complications, transpires that Jack, when was a baby, was left in a handbag at Victoria Station.
We finally discover that Jack and Algy are brothers, and the true name of Jack is Ernest.
He became really earnest. So Fairfax can marry Ernest.