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In Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest, who is Miss Prism and why is she...

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lashae2013 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2013 at 2:18 AM via web

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In Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest, who is Miss Prism and why is she so significant?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:40 PM (Answer #1)

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Miss Prism is a minor character who is significant because she has a secret about Jack that she doesn't realize until the end of the play. In fact, no one knows how vital this secret's revelation means until the end. Miss Prism is the carrier of information that provides a twist to the plot and resolution to many problems. Miss Prism is Cecily's governess and works for Jack. Miss Prism also used to work for Jack's parents before they died, which makes her very old, indeed, but nonetheless important. Her secret stayed with her for close to thirty years, too, but is revealed as Lady Bracknell asks her what she did with the baby (her nephew) she lost so long ago. As Miss Prism reveals her secret, Jack is able to unveil his past and heritage. This unveiling leads to him being able to earnest, or honest, and to learn that his real name is also Ernest.

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