Literary Analysis of the Importance of Being Earnest

Instruction & Requirements:
Prompt for Essay #3: Writing about Drama

Write a 3-5 page essay that analyzes a topic of your choosing from the Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Use in-text citations for at least 3 direct references to lines from the play and make sure that you are analyzing rather than summarizing.

It should be in MLA format and must have a Works Cited page (which does not contribute to you page count, i.e. you must have a minimum of 3 pages of writing). Topics to consider as you choose what to write about:

Society (Victorian or modern audiences perceptions)

Class Systems

Marriage and/or/versus Love

How the play format changes the readers experience

Excesses and/or Frivolity


Gender Roles

Any specific character as an allegory or symbol

A character analysis of one character or comparing two characters


Diction (the choice, use and style of words used)

Double Identity (or Bunburying)




Innocence & Virtue

Truth (sincerity/lies/being earnest)

Use the literary elements and techniques we have discussed to illuminate your point (i.e. irony, symbolism, imagery, metaphor, simile, repetition, setting, narrative method, dialogue, mood or tone, foreshadowing) and don\’t forget that when analyzing plays, use these elements to explore larger and overarching topics like plot, setting, characterization, theme, point of view and/or how the performance aspect of drama changes the story.

When discussing a play in-text, you should italicize it.

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