Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who was the deus ex machina in Oscar Wilde's play: The Importance of Being Earnest?

????????Who was the deus ex machina in Oscar Wilde's play: The Importance of Being Earnest?
I've read the play a zillion times but I had to look up the answer to your question because I had forgotten. So I did a google search of "The Importance of Being Earnest" "Deus Ex Machina" -- low and behold the first number of references popped up for sample essays and enotes on the play! Please excuse me for asking but I am wondering, did you do your research before you asked the question?


The answer, according to this site is "The impass is broken in typical deus ex machina fashion by the appearance of Cecily's governess, Miss Prism. As she and Lady Bracknell recognize each other with horror, it is revealed that, when working many years previously as a nursemaid for Lady Bracknell's sister, Prism had inadvertently lost a baby boy in a handbag. When Jack produces the identical handbag, it becomes clear that he is Lady Bracknell's nephew and Algernon's older brother."

Are you trying to explore the function of the "Deus Ex Machina" in Late Victorian Theatre, perhaps in comparison to other periods? Like it's origins in Ancient Greek Theatre or Neoclassical Theatre History?

With all due respect, I believe I just did your homework for you. If that is the case, I suggest you make sure you review the definition of a "deus ex machina" and it's history. If that is not the case, then thanks for reminding me, once again, why I love this play and topic so much! Hope you are having fun too.


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