Act Two Journal


PosterĄG Maggy Zheng at 15:36:10 12/29/97 from c549-7.svdcc.fju.edu.tw
MentionedĄG

After reading Act Two, I think its is an interesting part of this play. Algy pretended to be Ernest and visited Cecily. It was really unexpectedly. How dare he was !-I can't help but crying out when I realize Algy's trick. I admire his couragement because lying is difficult to me. However, Algy enjoyed it very well. There is an example : when Jack felt embarrassed for being unmask the lie, Algy still insisted that it was a perfectly wonderful Bunbury ! Besides, there is ridiculousness. When Jack claimed that his poor brother Ernest was dead, Cecily appeared and asked him to shake hands with " Ernest ". What happened ? Was that Ernest's ghost ? No, it was obviously a big lie but nobody felt strange. Why ? I can't understand. Perhaps we can't see this play in a normal way. Oscar Wilde wanted showing the absurdity of the society, so people in this play stood lies and didn't take it seriously. As to the two girls, Cecily and Gwendlon, both of them held stupid dreams to marry whom named Ernest. For misunderstanding, they also had a conflict for their own dear Ernest. In my view, I can't see the difference if one I love doesn't have a right name. But it seemed important to the girls that they wouldn't love Algy and Jack if their names were not Ernest. This insistence is meaningless. Since Cecily and Gwendlon had the unreasonable requests, Algy and Jack hurried to fulfill their dreams by being christened again. Here we can see one unchangeable rule on love-one will do everything his sweetheart asks, no matter how fool it is. Though his behavior may be out of mind, he doesn't care at all.
About Miss Prism, she took her responsibility of teaching very well. She described German as an intellectual pleasure so she could arise Cecily's studying desire. Honestly speaking, I doubt if it works. She never forgot to urge Cecily even before she had a stroll with Dr.Chasuble. From her words, " Idle merriment and triviality would be out of place in his conversation." we know that she respected Jack and regarded him as a man of integrity, so he should be serious. She firmly believed that Jack wouldn't lie because of his perfect personality. What's more, she certainly looked down Jack's poor brother, Ernest. I guess that Jack had created Ernest to be a dissipated man who was lost in evil. That was why Miss Prism said, " I'm not in favor this modern mania for turning bad people into good people at a moment's notice." In addition, her relationship with Dr.Chasuble was ambiguity. When Cecily told him that Miss Prism had a headache, she defended immediately. Maybe she wanted to show her good health in front of Dr.Chasuble. And then when he was going to leave, the headache suddenly attacked her and she said a stroll might do her good. Miss Prism's intention was palpable, but we can't make fun of her for her age. One more specialty of Miss Prism was her idea of marriage. " By persistently remaining single, a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation." " A man isn't equally attractive when married except to his wife. Sometimes he didn't even attract to his wife, that depends on the intellectual sympathies of the woman." We can see that a man's status become low after he is married. The society allows men to flirt with anyone he likes. They admire those who do so. As Miss Prism knew Ernest was unmarried, she said " People who live entirely for pleasure usually are." Therefore, to be single is the only way to keep your status high.
From the impression of this play, we know that Cecily was definitely clever, full of wicked ideas. She was sensitive that she didn't like novels without happy endings. She didn't want to study so Dr.Chasuble's coming became her excuse for escaping. She took pity on poor Ernest and hoped to help him. In fact, she had dreamed of him for a long time. Her fantastic mind seemed unconceivable. She imagined that Ernest and herself fell in love, making engagement, and even broken off it once. Her reason was " It would hardly have been a really serious engagement if it hadn't been broken off at least once." Oh-non-sense, I said. How stupid the idea was. I am curious that if Algy could put up with his little wife after being married. Also, Cecily wrote down Algy's praise toward her. She asked him to speak slowly so she could write the words completely. At that time, she controlled Algy like Gwendlon controlled Jack's propose. While Algy was forced to leave, she showed her regret in her funny words : " The absence of old friends one can endure with equanimity. But even a momentary separation from any one to whom one has just been introduced is almost unbearable."
The conflict between Cecily and Gwendlon was a climax of Act Two. They argued on their " Ernest " and make up the excuses to explain the presence of the other side. It was very silly from the reader's view. Their words were not decent. " But even men of the noblest possible moral character are extremely susceptible of the influence of the physical charms of others. " " Modern, on less than Ancient History, supplies us with many most painful examples of what I refer to. If it were not so, indeed, History would be quite unreadable. " But it was ironic that they became good friends after knowing they both be cheated.
There was no doubt that Jack was angry with Algy. However, they both were liars. The only way that occurred to Jack to solve the dilemma was to make Algy leave. Unfortunately, Algy was brazen-faced. He refused Jack's request and stayed longer than he expected. Jack even received Algae's suggestion to dress awfully, creating his imaginary brother's death. It seemed he was so foolish ! In the whole play, Jack was like one who was impeded by others. He couldn't do things at will. He couldn't get Lady Bracknell's permission for marrying Gwendlon; he couldn't prevent Algy from being naughty in his life. He was poor but he caused everything. In other words, he deserved it !


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