Week 3: The Importance of Being Earnest

New production in new setting

I would like to set the play in India in 19th century.  In 19th century, kings and Royals were ruling their princely states.  After India gained independence in 1947, the princely states became part of India and Royals lost their official powers to rule.

The main theme of the play is social hypocrisy which can be vividly seen in the royal families. Royals usually married among themselves. They even try to follow that today. Their marriages were a profligate affair. There would be elephants in gold headdresses and camels wearing intricate and delicately embroidered sheets leading the processions, the glitter and glamour, everything seemed surreal. The Royals fought amongst each other and at the same time they married amongst each other.

In Act I of the play, Lady Bracknell interrogates Jack when he wishes to marry Gwendolen. She asks him what his income is, where he stays, how many bedrooms are there in his house and so on. She is very much interested in knowing the wealth of Jack and his social standing. This hypocritical behavior was also seen in Royals. For example, when Jaipur’s Princess Diya Kumari decided to marry a ‘commoner’, there was a mini tempest in the close knit world of the royal Rajputana. (Dasgupta, 2010)

At end of the play there are three engagements in a matter of few minutes. The characters only get together because they fit socially and economically, not because of true love. This was very valiantly shown by kings and Royals. Polygamy existed in that era amongst the kings and nobles. The kings married princesses of different states for political reasons like treaties between kingdoms and not for love.


Dasgupta, R. R. (2010, Nov 19). Descendants of Indian maharajas continue to marry among themselves. Retrieved from http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2010-11-19/news/27577468_1_maharajas-kate-middleton-askot


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