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Questions from the play ACT 1

Sunneva Eik Hjaltested

1. ´The old fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out' (page 22) is the opposite of what we might expect to be said. What would we expect to be said? Find other examples in Act 1 where what is said is the opposite of what we might expect Normally there is talk about respecting our elders, not the other way around. Another example is that Algernon sees nothing romantic in proposals and thinks that divorces are made in heaven. Also when Jack admits he smokes Lady Bracknell is happy about that. I really like, as well, the line where Jack says he’s sick to death of cleverness. 2. Re-read the scene where Jack is proposing to Gwendolen. What opinions do you form of the character? I think Gwendolen is sort of superficial, she thinks a lot of the name Ernest, and Jack is a bit reckless, even childish. He pretends to be someone else to escape his responsibilities. 3. Is Gwendolen afraid of her mother? why/why not? Yes, I think so, at least a little bit. She obeys her and goes to the carriage, but only after blowing kisses to Jack, maybe as an act of defiance. But she believes that they will never get married because of her mother. 4. What differences are between Jack and Algy? Both of them areare at high rank in their society and have an excuse to leave their responsibilities. But Algernon has a sharper tongue and Jack seems to be more polite. Also Jack believes in marriage while Algy probably does not. ACT 2 1. In what way does your impression of Cecily change, or develop, through Act 2? Look at her conversations with Miss Prism, then with Algernon and lastly with Gwendolen. At first I thought she was just a lovely young and polite girl. Later she meets Algy and seem a bit eccentric, but romantic. During her conversation with Gwendolen she butters her up and they decide to become best friends. Later the whole Ernest problem comes up. Then they suddenly become sworn enemies, but that doesn’t run deep (neither does their friendship, for that matter) and later they decide to become friends again. So her mind, Cecilys mind, changes rapidly and she is always sure of herself. 2. Is the relationship between Algernon and Jack different in this Act? Jack is now the responsible John and gets annoyed with the reckless side of Algy. 3. What will be the effect on the audience of seeing Jack enter dressed in mourning clothes? (page 31)


They probably think that Algy and Jack are in trouble, that everything is about to blow up. ACT 3 1. What impression do you get of Miss Prism in Act 3? Take all the evidence into account - the temperance beverage, the three volume novel and so on. In the beginning she is Cecily’s teacher and is sort of strict. She wants to appear upper-class and uses a lot of flashy vocabulary, made up or naught. She appears to be constantly thinking about marriage and probably wants to marry Dr. Chasuble, she talks to him in that manner. For a moment Jack thinks that she is her mother, but she really dislikes that idea. 2. What reason do you think Jack might have for refusing to give permission for Cecily to marry Algernon other than the explanation he gives (page 60)? He thinks he is reckless and feel protective of Cecily, even jealous. 3. What difficulty is still unresolved? - though no one seems to mind - at the end of the play? Although Gwendolen doesn’t like the name, Algernon is still called Algernon. But the brothers can’t both be Ernest and she just has to deal with that.

Questions from the play