Compare and Contrast Essay between the Film and Play 'The Importance of Being Earnest'

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I would like to thank you for inviting me to speak at this year’s Literature Festival. Today, I am going to reflect on Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play, The Importance of Being Earnest, and the 2002 movie adaptation. The play is a satirical comedy about Victorian society and Victorian attitudes to marriage and class. My values, culture, believes, and experiences lead me to deplore the play's representation of love and its representation of women. I find the reaction to love and marriage wrong. I also disagree with the depiction of Cecily (in the 2002 Film) as fragile, helpless, and in need of a man.

First of all, I shall reflect on the script of the play. The values instilled in me by my family made me denounce the representation of marriage and love in the play. Lady Bracknell states to Gwendolen, “An engagement should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be.” Lady Bracknell’s attitude towards marriage is evident because of the use of the word ‘surprise’ which implies an unexpected event. ‘Pleasant or unpleasant’ shows us that Lady Bracknell does not care about Gwendolen’s reaction as it is not important. My family has raised me to value relationships that are based on love, trust, and a genuine connection. My parents and sisters’ relationships are role models for me as they are all in relationships that are based on genuine connection and love. When I am older, I hope that I too will be in a relationship where I love and trust my significant other as that is what I have been to taught to value in relationships. Given my values, Lady Bracknell’s stance on relationships as they are some kind of business deal is just something I completely disagree with and cannot accept. I am outraged that Lady Bracknell does not even take Gwendolen’s feelings into account (even if her feelings for Ernest are quite shallow) and I am upset that not once does anybody put Lady Bracknell in her place.

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Now I shall reflect on the film. The scene I have chosen to reflect on is Cecily’s daydream, I am currently a member of an all-girl school (Brisbane Girls’ grammar) so the representation of Cecily as weak goes against my beliefs. In this scene, Cecily is represented as innocent and pure- this can be seen by the use of the white dress. This is reinforced by the use of the white flowers that surround Cecily- the color white represents goodness, innocence, and purity this just strengthens the statement that Cecily is a delicate young woman. A long shot is then used to stress the environment and stress the fact that Cecily is in some kind of danger and needs saving from a man. Considering my culture as a grammar girl and a member of a family that strongly values feminism, I was greatly bothered and upset by the depiction of Cecily. My school has taught me that all women can be strong and independent, and my family has taught me that I can do anything that a boy can do. My family has taught me to do activities that are usually thought to be done by men such as dirt bike riding endurance races which I regularly participate in with my twin brother My school has encouraged me to learn instruments that are usually male-dominated such as the tuba, trombone, and sousaphone. I hope one day I will be able to join a professional orchestra for the Tuba and I know that I would have never had this dream if the school wasn’t as encouraging as it is.

Even though it was the Victorian era I can accept that for some women a loveless marriage would have been the only option. Similar views on marriage and the depiction of women as weak and incapable of doing the same as men can still be found today in some instances. For example, in the US there are less than 20 professional female Tuba players and there are a total of 0 in the world’s top orchestras, Even at Girls Grammar, there are only 3 tuba players. While there has recently been a small rise in female brass players in the world it is still a very male-dominated career path.

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Compare and Contrast Essay between the Film and Play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. (2024, April 10). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from
“Compare and Contrast Essay between the Film and Play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.” Edubirdie, 10 Apr. 2024,
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