Study Questions: The Importance of Being Earnest


1)    Pick two scenes where you think visual performance is crucial to the comedy and explain why.


2)    Why do you think tea-time scenes (food, eating) are so central in this play?


3)    Look up "earnest" in a large dictionary and note its various meanings. How is this word relevant to the "message" in this play?


4)    What technique makes you laugh most in this play (give example)? Does the comedy get worn out at any point for you?


5)    Find at least one instance on each page in Act One where an idea expresses the reverse or opposite of the norm. Look at what kinds of ideas are used for this and comment on how Wilde seems to be using this technique.


6)    What comic techniques does Wilde use most? Which are most effective?


7)    What elements of farce and of melodrama are found?


8)    Discuss what aspects of his society Wilde is satirizing.


9)    How does hypocrisy play a role in this drama?