The Importance of Being Earnest Review



The Importance of Being Earnest, displaying many themes of love in this literary classic.

Love is shown in four different ways; Philia (friendship, brotherly), Eros (romantic), Storge (affection), and Agape (love for God). The four pillars that hold up society’s interpretation of love are made fun of in the play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. 

Wilde uses 5 main characters (John Worthing, Algernon Moncrief, Lady Bracknell, Cecily Cardew, and Gwendolen Fairfax) to show the viewers his ideology on love, specifically how love should be open and not controlled. Wilde cleverly makes the characters embody each pillar of love. 

Algernon and John represent Philia. Algy and John are classified as friends who don’t trust each other to marry their own relatives until the end when viewers find out they were brothers all along. Their relationship not only makes fun of the meaning behind Philia but also the root of the word meaning “brotherly love”. 

Cecily and Algernon represent Eros, but their relationship of claiming to love each other even before their eyes met for the first time shows how important love is for Wilde. Wilde uses most of the play to show that people are claiming to love one another without knowing the simplistic information about each other, their love was fake and mislabeled. 

Storge is a little more unclear but John easily tries to point fingers at Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism, as his mother after discovering Miss Prism stole him as a baby. He tries to create a sense of motherly love for him but all become surprised and uncomfortable since one can not create something that was not there. 

Lastly, John and Algernon seek to become christened which should represent Agape love. Although both characters go out of their way to seek appointments, they are only getting christened for the benefit of their love lives and to create a false reality of their identity. No love for God was shown. 

All the characters act seriously about love throughout the play, but without realizing it, they have all created false senses of love and go against Wilde’s idea of the “Importance of Being Earnest”. For all the hopeless romantics who truly believe love is possible, avoid breaking your heart by reading The Importance of Being Earnest


By Monica Ronayne ‘25, Contributing Writer