The relationship between Miss Prism and Reverend Chasuble serves as a useful to the relationships between Jack and Gwendolen and Algernon and Cecily. Cecily, however, exclaims to Miss Prism, "I suppose that is why he [Jack] often touch to the subject of religious zeal and its relationship to Victorian morals. Miss Prism's lessons are boring and so Cecily decides to pursue her role as the cupid in their relationship, showing how dull Miss Prism is. “fortunate enough to.
She is also a modified version of the stock character of the sexually voracious older woman to be found in the comedy of manners and other modes of eighteenth-century fiction. Here, though, the comedy comes not so much from the actual pursuit of Canon Chasuble, which is sedate if desperate, but from the fact she cannot break the bounds of propriety to speak her desires in so many words.
There is a mismatch between appearance and reality, and between language and the realities it is supposed to express. Miss Prism's name is important too. In physics, a prism is an object which separates white light into the constituent colours of the rainbow. One assumes that Miss Prism is dowdy rather than well-dressed, so that there is a comedy even in her name. Add to that the possibility that Miss Prism is a near pun on 'misprision', meaning 'misunderstanding', and one can see that Lady Bracknell is more accurate than perhaps she intends when she says that the governess is only 'remotely connected with education'.
Her use of language, and in particular her coinage of the neologism 'womanthrope' Act II, p. She is also profoundly narrow-minded, moralistic and old-fashioned. Her attitude to the 'wickedness' of Ernest is un-Christian and unforgiving, and the novel that she wrote in which 'the good ended happily, and the bad ended unhappily' Act II, p. She is so concerned with respectability that she even tells Cecily to leave out a chapter on the fall of the rupee in her political economy as unsuitable for a young girl to read unchaperoned: Even these metallic problems have their melodramatic side' Act II, p.
She is a prude who does not really know the proper limits of prudery. Despite the fact that she is generally ineffectual, however, Miss Prism's role in the play's plot is also important.
The two leave for a turn in the garden. While they are gone, Merriman, the butler, announces Mr. Ernest Worthing has just arrived with his luggage and is anxious to speak with Miss Cardew. Algernon comes in, pretending to be Jack's brother, Ernest.
What Function Does the Character of Miss Prism Fulfill Within the Play? by Cristina Harber on Prezi
They will just miss each other. Algernon compliments her beauty, and they go inside just before Miss Prism and Dr. Jack enters in mourning clothes because his brother Ernest is dead in Paris. Jack takes the opportunity to ask Dr. Chasuble to re-christen him that afternoon around 5 p. Cecily comes from the house and announces that Jack's brother Ernest is in the dining room. Ernest is supposed to be dead.
Algernon comes out, and Jack is shocked. Jack is angry that Algernon could play such a trick. He orders the dogcart for Algernon to leave in. After Jack goes into the house, Algernon announces he is in love with Cecily. Algernon proclaims his undying affection while Cecily copies his words in her diary. Algernon asks Cecily to marry him, and she agrees.The Importance of Being Earnest - Who is Miss Prism?
In fact, she agrees readily because she has made up an entire romantic story of their courtship and engagement. She tells Algernon that her dream has always been to marry someone named Ernest because the name inspires such confidence. So, like Jack, Algernon decides he must be re-christened Ernest.
Importance of Being Earnest - Chasable and Miss Prism - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
Analysis Act II expands on many of the motifs introduced in Act I, but adds new characters and targets for Wilde's satire. The setting changes to the country — a bucolic setting for getting away from the artificial trappings of society and entering the simplicity of nature — and Wilde examines religion as well as courtship and marriage in the context of Victorian attitudes.
But even in the countryside, the characters cannot escape Victorian manners and correctness, as the name Ernest presents humorous complications. Idleness, duty, and marriage are brought together in the conversations of several characters.
Sighing bitterly, Miss Prism observes that people who live for pleasure are usually unmarried. Servant of the upper class, Prism sees responsibility tinted with obligation as the correct form in Victorian society. Cecily, however, exclaims to Miss Prism, "I suppose that is why he [Jack] often looks a little bored when we three are together.
Miss Prism and Canon Chasuble also provide a comic touch to the subject of religious zeal and its relationship to Victorian morals. Religion is presented as dry, meaningless, and expensive. The minister explains to Jack that the sermons for all sacraments are interchangeable. They can be adapted to be joyful or distressing, depending on the occasion.
Through these thoughts Wilde expresses the meaninglessness of religion and the obviously hackneyed, empty words of sermons. Jack's request for a christening is humorous when one considers that he is a grown man — christening is a rite usually appropriate for small babies. Wilde humorously captures the absurdity of rigid Victorian values when he utilizes Miss Prism as his mouthpiece, a morally upright woman who has, nevertheless, written a melodramatic, romantic novel.
Obviously, hypocrisy lurks beneath the strict, puritanical surface of the prim governess.
- The Importance of Being Earnest
The height of her absurdity over rigid morals comes when she hears that Ernest is dead in Paris after a life of "shameful debts and extravagance.
I trust he will profit by it. His words come from Miss Prism when she says, "I am not in favour of this modern mania for turning bad people into good people at a moment's notice.
An endless number of societies existed for the reform of various causes. Algy gleefully utilizes the ruse of helplessness when he begs Cecily to reform him. However, she explains, "I'm afraid I've no time, this afternoon. One of the clearest expressions of Wilde satirizing his upper-class audience members is in the words of the minister. Chasuble is discussing his sermons and mentions that he gave a charity sermon on behalf of the Society for the Prevention of Discontent Among the Upper Orders.
This name is a parody of the long names of various societies that the wealthy dallied with in their quest for redemption.
The Importance of Being Earnest: Advanced York Notes
The hidden and repressed sexual nature of Victorian society is emphasized in Act II. Cecily is fascinated by sin and wickedness — but from afar. She hopes Ernest looks like a "wicked person," although she is not sure what one looks like.
She is particularly interested in the fact that the prim and proper Miss Prism has written a three-volume novel. Such novels were not deemed proper literature by Victorians, but were read in secret. Of course, the moral of the novel shows clearly that good people win, and bad people are punished. In fact, Miss Prism describes the conservative literary view of the day when she defines fiction as "the good ended happily, and the bad unhappily.
Much worldlier than Cecily, the canon and Miss Prism flirt outrageously and make innuendoes about desire and lust. Where a headache is usually used as an excuse for a lack of sexual interest, Miss Prism uses it as a reason to go on a walk alone with the minister. The humorous cleric speaks in metaphors and often has to define what he means so that he will not be misunderstood. For example, he states, "Were I fortunate enough to be Miss Prism's pupil, I would hang upon her lips.
He continues to put his foot in his mouth by saying, "I spoke metaphorically. My metaphor was drawn from bees.
Miss Prism answers in kind, calling him "dear Doctor," which seems to be a flirtatious title.