Top 10 quotes

There are so many memorable lines in The Importance of Being Earnest that it’s been described as the second most quoted play in English after Hamlet. Every character is wonderfully ridiculous and they often try to share their inaccurate wisdom with one another. Here’s a rundown of our top 10 The Importance of Being Earnest quotes, do you agree with them or have we missed off your favourite? (Lady Bracknell has far too many gems so she’s got her very own page. Only the best for Lady B).

Cecily (Reese Witherspoon) and Algernon (Rupert Everett) in the 2002 film

Cecily (Reese Witherspoon) and Algernon (Rupert Everett) in the 2002 film

1. Algernon – ‘The truth is rarely pure and never simple’.
2. Gwendolen – ‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train’.
3. Gwendolen – ‘My ideal has always been to love someone of the name of Ernest. There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence. The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.’
4. Algernon – ‘All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.’
5. Cecily – ‘I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.’
6. Jack – ‘How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.’
7. Jack – ‘The truth isn’t quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, sweet, refined girl. What extraordinary ideas you have about the way to behave to a woman!’
8. Miss Prism – “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”
9. Jack – ‘I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we still had a few fools left.’
10. Algernon – ‘Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.’

Do you agree with our top 10? Let us know!

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