A Close Reading of Cecily Cardew

A/N: A Close Reading of the character of Cecily Cardew in Ocar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest. If anyone is interested in reading the play, it can be found online for free.


The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a humorously satirical play that premièred in 1895 at the St. James’ Theatre in London. With its witty dialogue and high farce it is as humorous today as it was at the time of the première, where the critical reception was positive, and the production was considered hugely successful. The actor who played the part of Algernon Moncrieff stated that “I never remembered a greater triumph, the audience rose to their seats and cheered and cheered again” (Moss).

The selected production for the extract chosen for this close reading is a videotaped recording from February 14, 2013, directed by Chris Kauffman Gettysburg and played by the Gettysburg College’s The Owl and Nightingale Players.

The Importance of Being Earnest is about two friends, who both live deceitful lives. Algernon Moncrieff has invented a friend, whom he uses as an excuse whenever he wants to get out of an unwanted social event, while his friend Jack Worthing has invented an entire new persona; his wicked brother Earnest. This is done so he can live a less than perfectly moral life, while at the same time appear morally correct to his ward, the young ms. Cecily Cardew, which, however, gets the opposite effect as she fancies herself in love with Earnest through Jack’s stories about his wicked brother.

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A Close Reading of Pride and Prejudice

A/N: An Academic Essay for the letter Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth in the iconic story of Pride and Prejudice.


 

There are numerous possible methods on how to analyse the iconic love story of Pride and Prejudice by the renowned Jane Austen, and a historical criticism is merely one of the more obvious ones.

I will, however, not analyse the entirety of the story, but rather centre most of my focus on a selected extract. For this extract I have chosen the letter, which Mr. Darcy presents to Elizabeth as his way of explaining and justifying his actions. The extract takes place about half-way through the story and it can be argued that it is the essential turning point for not only the relationship between Mr. Darcy and Ms. Elizabeth Bennett, but also for the story as a whole.

The letter is the result of Mr. Darcy overcoming his pride and realising that his unwillingness to accept the foolishness of Elizabeth’s relations has cost him his chance of extraordinary happiness. This realisation is brought on by Elizabeth’s refusal of his proposal of marriage, something which his pride deemed an impossibility. The letter itself also has the consequence of Elizabeth herself overcoming her prejudices towards Mr. Darcy, which has stemmed from a accumulation of personal pride, an unwillingness to give up her introductory impression of him and unverified rumours created by a charming, but duplicitous man by the name of George Wickham.

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