Self-Reflection


Poster¡G Karina at 0:57:56 12/30/97 from h169.s245.ts.hinet.net
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Karina Chen 
Self-Reflection to "The Importance of Being Earnest" 
Frankly speaking, it was not until Kate taught me the Drama Unit that I began to know how to appreciate its beauty and artistic value. It is no doubt that the drama "The Importance of Being Earnest" which is lectured in the class does catch my attention, not merely because the plot is interesting, but also because the characters* personalities and attitude toward things are ridiculous. Besides, every personage*s characteristics are exceedingly lifelike, for they are able to be viewed as an reflection of the real English society in the Victoria era. Owing to this, through studying this drama written by Oscar Wilde, we are able to get closer to that era. And I just choose some of the interesting characters to discuss about their characteristics. 
At the first place, let us discuss about the two chief actors, Jack and Algernon. Both of them are gentlemen in appearance, while Jack seems to be more serious than Algernon. This does not mean Algernon is careless, for he had said that "One must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life.", and actually he does put much emphasis on at least one thing¡Ðeating, while he and Jack*s attitude toward marriage is extremely different. So far as Algernon is concerned, "It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal." In other words, marriage is the end of love. When it comes to Jack, I think he is quite serious about marriage, for whenever he heard Algernon say something flippant about it, he always regarded those words nonsense. Nevertheless, regardless of the fact that many of these two men*s opinions differ from each other, they still have some things in common. That is, they both falsified other people. For instance, Jack used the false name Ernest when he was in London, and he told the people in country that he had a younger brother Ernest, who was fictitious. Thus, Jack could go to London and visit Gwendolen frequently by the excuse of helping his bad brother Ernest solve problems. Algernon was also dishonest, either. Like Jack, Algernon created a man called Bunbury, who was serious ill all the time. As Algernon was sick of participating in his aunt Lady Bracknell*s feast, he just rejected her invitation by the excuse of having to be with the ill Bunbury and to taking care of him. Furthermore, he also deceived Cecily that he himself was her Uncle Jack*s brother Ernest. Therefore, in my point of view, Jack and Algernon are also good story makers. 
Then let us move to the two chief actresses, Gwendolen and Cecily. Likewise, they have certain similarities in their characteristics. In them I see two ladies who build castles in the sky, which signifies being far from the reality. When Jack was expressing how much he was infatuated with Gwendolen, Gwendolen said, "My ideal has always been to love someone of the name of Ernest." "The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I know I was destined to love you." From these words, we can apparently observe that what Gwendolen actually wanted to marry is not the man but the name "Ernest," for "It is a divine name. It has music of its own. It produces vibrations." And the resembling situation happened on Cecily as well when Algernon proposed to her. She said, "Ever since Uncle Jack first confessed to us that he had a younger brother who was very wicked and bad, you of course have formed the chief topic of conversation between myself and Miss Prism. And of course a man who is much talked about is always very attractive," "It had always been a girlish dream of mine to love some one whose name was Ernest. There is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence. I pity any poor married woman whose husband is not called Ernest." However, I suppose that Cecily is far more exaggerative than Gwendolen, and the evidence that supports my thought is from the words Cecily told Algernon that they had been engaged for the last three months, which I consider is due to her abundant imagination. What is more absurd is that Cecily even showed Algernon her record about their engagement on her own diary. To tell the truth, I really wonder why Algernon could fall in love with Cecily, perhaps the cause is that he is as childish as she is. Afterwards, at the moment Gwendolen and Cecily found that they were both engaged to Ernest, which represented different people in their minds, they started to contend with each other. In these dialogues between the two ladies when they argued, we can see how proud and arrogant Gwendolen was and also how silly these two ladies were. When Cecily declared that the little county newspaper was sure to chronic the fact next week, Gwendolen also stated that the announcement would appear in the Morning Post on the Saturday at the latest. Here we may detect the difference of the newspapers* names and resources, which is able to be seen as the two ladies* background. Obviously, Gwendolen looked down on Cecily, for she thought that Cecily was a rustic and had no right to be compared with people who were noble just like Gwendolen herself. Moreover, when Cecily asked if Gwendolen would like to add sugar into the tea, Gwendolen refused, just because sugar was not fasionable at all, and neither was the cake. So, here we can get an idea that Gwendolen advocated fashion, and as long as the thing was not in vogue, she would throw it away, or maybe we can even say that she is a girl without depth of thought. In addition, at the moment they first met each other, both of them were polite, while it is just a false impression, and I guess each of them was also wondering who this strange lady was. 
Last but not least, I would like to talk a little bit about Lady Bracknell. It is my personal persuasion that many of her opinions are pretty strange. Again I will show the evidence to prove my thought. When Jack admitted he smokes, the reaction from Lady Bracknell was really very incredible, for she said, "I am glad to hear that. A man should always have an occupation of some kind." It seems that no matter what kind of hobby a man has, whether good or bad, she would regard him a promising person. In addition, when she heard that Jack was an orphan, instead of sympathizing with him, she considered that it was a humiliation, which Jack should be blamed for.¡]Lady Bracknell: "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."¡^As a result, Lady Bracknell seems to be cruel person and is with no sympathy. There is also an example. At the moment Algernon told her that Bunbury was sick, her attitude was also ruthless, for she said, " I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or die**..I should be much obliged if you would ask Mr. Bunbury, from me, to be kind enough not to have a relapse on Saturday, for I rely on you to arrange my music for me." To Lady Bracknell, it is none of her business whether a person dies or not so long as he does not bother her, but if he does, then it would mean something to her, for he is the reason that breaks her feast. In other words, Lady Bracknell is a selfish woman. 
As this drama is a play which describes the thoughts of upper class people in Victoria era clearly, we can know how ridiculous, and how dishonest they were, though they look and behave like gentlemen.