The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Explain the theme of dishonesty in society in The Importance of Being Earnest.  

Expert Answers info

lmetcalf eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,941 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Dishonesty is the overarching theme of the whole play--after all, the title of the play is a specific reference.  To be earnest means to be honest.  Most of the characters in the play are dishonest--especially Jack and Algernon, and it is their dishonesty that creates the premise of the whole story.

Jack has been dishonest about telling his having a brother named Ernest who gets into all kinds of scrapes that require Jack to come to the city to solve.  In reality, Jack is just trying to get a break from his life in the country; and while in the city, he...

(The entire section contains 306 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial