The Women Announce
In Act III of The Importance of Being Earnest, the play picks back up in the country home where Gwendolyn and Cecily are waiting to hear what Algernon and John have to say for themselves. In the previous act, Algernon and John were both caught lying about being Earnest by the women. The men enter into the room and both women immediately demand explanations for their actions.
Algernon and John explain the situation and why they did what they did, the women choose to forgive them, then they immediately change their minds They change their minds because at first they were satisfied by the men’s argument and then they come to realization they they still were lied to all this time.
The women announce at the same time that they can not marry them men because their names are not Earnest. Algernon and John immediately think that telling the women that they are due to christening later that afternoon will help ease the situation. After telling the women about their christening, the women are impressed by what they just heard. They are mainly impressed because they see this action as an act of braveness and sacrifice, they then fall into the arms of their men.
A few moments after, Lady Bracknell joins everyone in the country-home to separate the couples apart. She was told Gwendolyn’s location from the maid in whom she bribed. She then demands for John to lose all of his communication with her daughter but John announces to Lady Bracknell that him and Gwendolyn are getting married. She then changes the subject by asking Algernon about his friend Bunbury; he states that Bunbury was pronounced dead that afternoon. John tries to introduce Cecily to Lady Bracknell, and Algernon announces that he is engaged to her.
Lady Bracknell repeatedly disrespects the background of Cecily which increases the frustration of John. When she is acknowledged that Cecily is rich, Lady Bracknell has sudden approval and finds her beautiful. She gives their engagement her blessing, then tells Cecily to call her aunt, and proposes that they get married as soon as possible. Cecily and Algernon celebrate by expressing their happiness. John, nonetheless, does not give his blessing of Cecily and Algernon getting married and he refuses to unless Lady Bracknell grants him and Gwendolyn permission to wed, in which she denies to do. She then just says that Cecily should wait until she comes of age, but John informs her that she will not be of age until she is 35. The situation seems hopeless and Lady Bracknell is planning to take Gwendolyn back to London with her.
The final section of the play brings the entire play together as a whole. The third scene starts off with Dr. Chasuble entering, ready to baptize Algernon and Jack. Lady Bracknell then announces her bitterness towards the entire situation. The priest is surprised to hear this and offers to return to the church with Miss Prism whom is waiting for him. Lady Bracknell is surprised to hear the name Miss Prism and questions Dr. Chasuble about Miss Prism. She is very sure that she knows this women and sends for the priest to bring her. Miss Prism arrives and Lady Bracknell starts to question her and investigate her.
She then asks, “Prism! Where is that baby?” Bracknell explains that 28 years ago, Miss Prism left her home pushing a baby carriage that carried a baby boy. She never came back with the carriage and later on the police located the bay carriage but with no baby. Miss Prism denies knowing anything but admits at the time she accidentally swapped the baby for the document that was in the handbag. She then says that she left the bag and the baby in the closet at the train station. John overhears the conversation and excuses himself upstairs
John comes back downstairs with an old handbag which Miss Prism immediately recognizes as the bag she left that night. John then tries to embrace her as his mother but she denies it and directs him to Lady Bracknell. She then tells John that he is her sister’s son and Algernon’s older brother. They all started to celebrate the new family relation when John asks his birth name. Lady Bracknell states that she does not remember but she does know he was named after his father.
Algernon did not know his father’s name because he passed away when Algernon was only an infant. His father was in the military so they decided to check his military records. They figured out that John’s father’s name was Earnest. Gwendolyn starts to repeat her fondness for the name Earnest and John asks her for forgiveness for lying about his real identity earlier in the play. Each couple settles their differences and John announces his highly famous saying: “I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”
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