Two major issues predominate much of The Importance of Being Earnest's criticism. First, while audiences from the play's opening have warmly received it, Wilde's contemporaries questioned its seeming amorality. Playwright George Bernard Shaw (Major Barbara), after seeing the original London production, attacked the play's "real degeneracy" in an article reprinted in Oscar Wilde: A Collection of Critical Essays. Shaw described Wilde's repartee as "hateful" and...
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