How Props are Used in Crucible and Importance of Being Earnest Essay

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’:
1. Cigarette case: The cigarette case introduced in Act 1 acts as a source for introducing the conflict. It leads the audience to discover John and Algernon’s double lives and introduces the notion of ‘Bunburying’ as named by Algernon.

2. Food: Food is used as a prop quite frequently throughout the play. In Act 1, we see Algernon preparing cucumber sandwiches for the arrival of Lady Bracknell and bread and butter for Gwendolen. Wilde uses the choice of foods and the characters’ devotion towards them as indicators of their high-class position and their prioritization of outward appearances and social conventions.

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Algernon informs John that, “Gwendolen is devoted to bread and butter,” which is later revealed in Act 3 is due to bread and butter being ‘fashionable.’ Furthermore, she rejects cake and sugar as offered by Cecily on grounds that they are “not fashionable any more” and that “Cake is rarely seen at the best houses nowadays.” This allows the playwright to characterize Gwendolen as a character who is more anxious with outward appearances and to be fashionable and witty rather than intellectual or serious.

Food also serves as a source of conflict as it fuels the spat between Cecily and Gwendolen in Act 2, where Cecily’s imprudences in response to Gwendolen’s haughtiness and insults makes Gwendolen say that cecily might be ‘going too far.”

Additionally, food provides as a source for light comedy, such as in Algernon’s case, where he steadily devours all the cucumber sandwiches in Act 1, which were meant to be for lady Bracknell. The gusto with which Algernon eats the muffins and John attacks the bread and butter denote towards their lavish lifestyles as their fondness of the expensive foods are clear indications of frequent indulgences.

3. Piano: The presence of the piano in Algernon’s flat serves to reflect Algernon’s high-class citizen status. this prop serves to mimic the Victorian high-class society life-styles where during the evenings, people would entertain themselves with light music, food and guests. Furthermore, the piano serves as a dramatic technique as it gives Algernon a purpose for exiting the stage during private conversations between other characters.

The ability of playing the piano suggests affluence as the player must have been able to afford the required education and facilities. Having a piano in a house therefore suggests the high-class status of a person which might have been another intention for the presence of this prop in the scene (Algernon’s flat).

4. Diary: As revealed by Act 2 Cecily and Gwendolen both were very devoted to keeping track of their daily life and feelings in their diaries. Cecily reiterates her imagined affair between her and Algernon with her diary as a reference while Gwendolen offers her diary entries as evidence to her claim that John is actually Earnest. Their appeal to their diaries as evidences for their words shows that they perceive the mere recording of an event as a fact. This is significant as it relates to the notion of portraying life as an art form .

The diaries also portray the importance of fiction in the lives of the characters. John and Algernon both create an imaginary world which not only allows them to escape social and moral obligations but also gives them an appearance of being highly moral and responsible than they actually are. Jack, who is regarded as a ‘paragon for virtue’ with his ‘brow permanently creased with anxiety and woe’ gives a false impression to society. Algernon who is much appreciated in his society for his regular visits to his friend Bunbury, as it shows his Christian charity. The presence of fiction helps WIlde to portray the general hypocrisy that was present in the Victorian society.

5. Yew Tree: The garden setting furnished with the yew tree is significant as it serves as a focal point for important conversations such as the spat between Gwendolen and Cecily, John and Algernon.

Love Letters/Diary:
Cecily’s love for fiction is evident through her diary and her fabricated love letters from Algernon or ‘Earnest’ that she wrote to herself. Her relationship with ‘Earnest’ is entirely based on her imagination and she created this romance in which every details and development she wrote in her diary and her love letters. She refers to her diary in which she recorded her date of engagement when she tries to prove ‘Earnest’ belongs to her. Through his we understand that the mere fact of having written something down makes it fact.

Personal diaries hold another kind of secret. Intimate secrets are hidden in the contents of Cecily’s diary. When Algernon proposes to Cecily she informs him that they “have been engaged for the last three months” (p.330) and shows him the entry in her diary. Not only are they engaged but Cecily has also fabricated love letters from Ernest to herself. Cecily is “worn out” by Algernon’s “entire ignorance” (p. 330) of her existence. How could he have known? Cecily’s diary is a sort of fiction as well: In it, she has recorded an invented romance whose details and developments she has entirely imagined. When Cecily and Gwendolen seek to establish their respective claims on Ernest Worthing, each appeals to the diary in which she recorded the date of her engagement, as though the mere fact of having written something down makes it fact. Ultimately, fiction becomes related to the notion of life as an art form.

The Bag:
The bag reveals two sides to Jack’s character. The ordinary handbag is discovered in a cloakroom, which is a very a common place. The cloakroom is a place where coats, scarfs, hat and other garments and clothing pieces are hung. These pieces of apparel can all are worn to conceal one’s true form, face, or identity thus foreshadowing on Jack’s double life. Thus, this commonplace container contains a baby of uncommon origin and the discovery of the bag revels at the end that Jack is indeed a true member of the aristocracy and this makes him a worthy husband for another aristocrat, Gwendolen.

In fact, he’s revealed at the end to be a true member of the aristocracy – part of the Moncrieff family – which makes him a worthy husband for another aristocrat, Gwendolen.

Thus, this commonplace container contains a baby of uncommon origin. Continuing this theme of disguise, it is no coincidence that this ordinary-handbag-containing-a-baby is discovered in a cloakroom – a place where outer garments like cloaks, coats, wraps, and scarves may be hung. These pieces of apparel can all be worn to conceal one’s true form, face, or identity.

Mary Warren’s poppet would symbolize the uneasiness of the community. A poppet was something that symbolized innocence and youth; however, because of one person’s words the poppet becomes this evil thing that people begin to fear. Along with witchcraft was voodoo and these dolls were believed to be used to hurt and curse the people these dolls were made after. For example, “I find here a poppet Goody Proctor keeps. I have found it, sir. And in the belly of the poppet a needle’s stuck.”(Cheever, Act 2) The poppet was a gift from Mary Warren and it got turned into a demonic and evil doll. Simply because Abigail Williams stuck herself in the stomach with a needle and blamed the voodoo doll that Goody Proctor kept.

Pots are directly associated with witches and here the pot symbolizes the girls mixing the town and the people to their own benefits with their lies and accusations against others in order to save themselves for. The substances that boil inside represent the panicked town people and foreshadow the series of events that take place in the rest of the play.

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