The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In The Importance of Being Earnest, Algernon observes, "Women only call each other sister when they have called each other a lot of other things first." How does the development of the relationship between Cecily and Gwendolen bear out this remark? What causes them to bond together? What causes them to behave competitively?

Expert Answers info

Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write786 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Gwendolyn and Cicely are the two female leads in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and the competitive elements of their relationship reflect some truth in Algernon's statement. It is possible that the causes of this competitive behavior can be found in the Victorian society that the women themselves inhabit.

Often, competition between two people exist when points of comparison exist. In other words, two people must share some similarities for a competitive feeling to exist between them. Cicely and Gwendolyn do share some characteristics, and before their similarities can bring them together as mutually respected "sisters," they must prove to each other, and perhaps to themselves, that they are both ready to enter London society and are, more importantly, ready for marriage to someone suitably sophisticated and wealthy.

This society is, in fact, the object of Wilde's satire , as he believes that the social pressures of this time period on women create such shallow and...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 858 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lauren Willson, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor

bookM.A. from Radford University


calendarEducator since 2017

write1,475 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

esoppelt eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write37 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial