The importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wiled represents consistent themes throughout the play that relate to problems in everyday life. The play primarily revolves around two men, Jack Worthington and Algerian. Both men treasure the women they have always wanted and finally got, but soon this perfect love becomes complicated when both are found telling little white lies to get what they want. Wiled uses these two men and their stories to show how one little white lie creates more lies and leads to a downfall. Wiled illustrates throughout the play how society is dishonest.
Jack and Algerian seem to have no trouble telling lies when it gets them what they want or when it helps them avoid consequences of their actions. Wiled shows many illustrations throughout the play regarding Victorian attitudes toward truthfulness. “The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility! ” says Algerian. “My dear fellow, the truth isn’t quite the sort of thing one tells too nice, sweet, refined girl. What extraordinary ideas you have about the way to behave to a woman! ” replies Jack.
Wiled is making fun of society in this example by making his characters lie to show how society lies without even thinking twice about it. Lying is like a second nature. It shows in this example how Jack replies by saying you cannot win a sweet, simple girl over by telling her the truth so one must lie to get what they want. Another example Wiled points out in the play is when it comes to people and marriage. People claim they will only marry once, but Wiled shows how actions are different then words when people end up marrying multiple times. “Ernest, we may never be married. From the expression on mamma’s face I fear we never shall….
But although she may prevent us from becoming man and wife, and I may marry someone else, and marry often, nothing that she can possibly do can alter my eternal devotion to you. ” Said Edgewood. Another example Wiled uses from the play is when both men lie about their names being Earnest to win over the girl of their dreams. They know the only way the women will marry them is if their names are Earnest, therefore they both lie to get what they want without thinking of what will actually happen when the girls find out their real names. This example shows one of Wild’s illustrations about people’s attitude toward truthfulness.