What is the importance of being earnest?
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The title works on two levels. The first has to do with the desire of the female characters to have a romantic liaison with a man named Earnest, and referring to that name as the most suitable one for a man and the only acceptable one for a potential partner. The other level refers to the meaning of the word, i.e. the importance of being eager, enthusiastic, persistent, etc. and other words associated with earnestness. Indeed it is sheer persistence and force of will that allows the characters to work through the misunderstandings and mistaken identity issues that confuse their relationships and communications throughout the play.
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