ਸੈਸ਼ਨ 5

Algernon and Jack reveal they both lead double lives. But can Jack win the heart of the woman he really loves?

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    ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 1

ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 1

Drama

The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 2: The Proposal

Journey back to Victorian London with us in the second episode of The Importance of Being Earnest, based on the original comedy by Oscar Wilde.

Jack and Algernon are two wealthy, young, unmarried men - but Jack plans to change that. He's in love with Algernon's cousin Gwendolen. He plans to propose to her when she comes to visit later that day. But first, he has to explain to Algernon why he's leading a double life.

While you listen to the audio, see how many examples of the passive voice you can spot. Then take a look at the transcript to see them in bold.

ਆਡੀਓ ਸੁਣੋ ਤੇ ਕੰਮ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰੋ

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Narrator
Algernon has just asked his good friend Jack to explain why he calls himself Jack in the country but Ernest in London. Jack says it's because he is the guardian of a girl called Cecily, who lives with him in the country. She looks up to him and he feels he should behave well when he's with her, so he pretends he has a younger brother called Ernest so that when he comes up to London, he can enjoy himself.

Jack
That, my dear Algy, is the whole truth.

Algernon
So, Ernest, you are a Bunburyist!

Jack
What on earth do you mean?

Algernon
You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, so that you can come to London as often as you like. I have invented a sick friend called Bunbury so that I can go to the country whenever I like. Bunbury is invaluable. For example, if Bunbury didn't have such bad health, I would have to have dinner with my aunt Lady Bracknell tonight. And I have no intention of doing that.

Jack
Why not?

Algernon
Well, to begin with, I had dinner with her on Monday - once a week is quite enough to eat with your own relations. Secondly, I know I will be seated next to Mary Farquhar, who always flirts with her own husband - most unpleasant! Besides, I want to have dinner with you and talk about Bunburyism.

Jack
I'm not a... Bunburyist. In fact I think I am going to kill my brother Ernest. Cecily is a little too interested in him. And I strongly advise you to do the same with Mr... with your sick friend.

Algernon
I will not be separated from Bunbury...  (a bell rings) Ah! That must be my aunt now. Now, if I keep her busy for ten minutes so you can propose to Gwendolen, will you have dinner with me tonight?

Jack
Alright Algy...

Lane
Lady Augusta Bracknell and Miss Gwendolen Fairfax.

Narrator
A well-dressed, elderly woman and her daughter, a pretty, young lady enter the room.

Lady Bracknell
Good afternoon, dear Algernon. Oh, hello, Mr Worthing.

Jack
Hello, Lady...

Lady Bracknell
Now, Algernon... I'd like a nice cup of tea, and one of those cucumber sandwiches you promised me.

Algernon
Certainly, Aunt Augusta. Good heavens! Lane! Why are there no cucumber sandwiches?

Lane
There were no cucumbers in the market this morning, sir.  

Algernon
No cucumbers!

Lane
No, sir. 

Algernon
I am very sorry, Aunt Augusta.

Lady Bracknell
It doesn't matter, Algernon. Pour me some tea.

Algernon
Here you are.

Lady Bracknell
Thank you. Now, Algernon, about tonight - you will be seated next to Mary Farquhar. 

Algernon
I'm afraid, Aunt Augusta, I won't be able to have dinner with you tonight.

Lady Bracknell
But why not, Algernon?

Algernon
Well, I have just heard that my poor friend Bunbury is very ill again. I'll have to go and see him.

Lady Bracknell
It's very strange. This Mr Bunbury seems to have curiously bad health. I think it is time that he made up his mind whether he was going to live or to die. And I would be very grateful if you could ask Mr Bunbury to please not be ill on Saturday, because I need you to organise my music at my soirée.

Algernon
I'll speak to him, Aunt Augusta, and I'm sure he'll be well by Saturday. But why don't we go next door to look at the programme of music I've prepared.

Lady Bracknell
Thank you, Algernon. It is very thoughtful of you.

Narrator
Algernon and his aunt go into the music room, leaving Jack and Gwendolen alone.

Jack
It has been a lovely day, Miss Fairfax.

Gwendolen
Please don't talk to me about the weather, Mr Worthing. Whenever people talk about the weather, I am sure they mean something else. And that makes me nervous.

Jack
I do mean something else.

Gwendolen
I thought so. 

Jack
Miss Fairfax, ever since I met you I have admired you...

Gwendolen
Yes, I realised that. Actually, I have always been fascinated by you... even before we met.  

Jack
Really?

Gwendolen
Yes, I've always wanted to love someone called Ernest. That name inspires complete confidence. When Algernon first mentioned that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you.

Jack
You really love me, Gwendolen?

Gwendolen
Passionately!

Jack
But you don't really mean that you couldn't love me if my name wasn't Ernest?

Gwendolen
But your name is Ernest.

Jack
Yes, I know. But what if it was something else? Do you mean you couldn't love me then? Personally, I don't think the name suits me.

Gwendolen
It suits you perfectly. 

Jack
But there are lots of other much nicer names. Jack, for instance, is a charming name.

Gwendolen
Jack? Oh, no, Jack does not have the same sound at all. It's not exciting. The only really safe name is Ernest.

Jack
Gwendolen, I must get christened at once - I mean, we must get married at once.

Gwendolen
Married, Mr Worthing?

Jack
Well... surely. You know that I love you, and you led me to believe, Miss Fairfax, that you felt the same.

Gwendolen
I adore you. But you haven't proposed to me yet. Nothing has been said at all about marriage.

Jack
Well... may I propose to you now?

Narrator
And so Jack kneels down and asks Gwendolen to marry him. She accepts and Jack is still on his knees when Lady Bracknell returns.

Lady Bracknell
Mr Worthing! Do get up! 

Gwendolen
Mamma! Please leave us. Mr Worthing has not quite finished yet.

Lady Bracknell
Finished what, may I ask?

Gwendolen
I am engaged to Mr Worthing, mamma. 

Lady Bracknell
Pardon me, you are not engaged to anyone. When you do become engaged, I, or your father will tell you. A young girl should be surprised by an engagement, pleasantly or unpleasantly. It is not something that she is allowed to arrange for herself... And now I would like to ask you a few questions, Mr Worthing. Gwendolen, can you wait for me below in the carriage.

Gwendolen
Mamma!

Download

You can download the drama from our Unit 12 downloads page or from our BBC Learning English Drama podcast page.

Vocabulary

guardian     
someone who is legally responsible for someone else, such as a child whose parents cannot look after them (perhaps because they have died)

Bunburyist
an invented word meaning someone who invents a fictitious person (either themselves or someone else)

invalid                   
a person who is ill or disabled and is unable to look after themself

invaluable   
extremely useful or valuable

flirts  
to behave towards someone as if you are romantically or sexually interested in them

soirée          
a small party in someone's house, usually with music

fascinated   
very interested or attracted

inspires       
makes someone enthusiastic about something

destined      
certain to happen because of fate

passionately
with great feeling or enthusiasm

christened   
named in a ceremony that usually takes place in a church

kneels                   
in a position with one or both knees on the floor

To do

See how much you understood from the story by answering these questions...

Earnest quiz

3 Questions

How well did you understand the story? Try our quiz about Episode 2.

ਵਧਾਈ ਹੋਵੇ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਕੁਇਜ਼ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰ ਲਿਆ
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਹਾਸਲ ਕੀਤੇ ਗਏ ਅੰਕ:
x / y

Credits

Algernon Moncreiff: Darren Benedict

Jack Worthing: Tim Gibson

Lane: Neil Edgeller

Lady Bracknell: Miranda Jaquarello

Gwendolen Fairfax: Sophie Napleton

Narrator: Finn Aberdein

Original play written by: Oscar Wilde

Adaptation by: Sue Mushin

Illustrator: Magdolna Terray

ELT consultant: Catherine Chapman

Producer: Finn Aberdein

More

You can find all the episodes of The Importance of Being Earnest and our other BBC Learning English dramas on our Drama page.

End of Session 5

Jack has proposed to Gwendolen. But Lady Bracknell doesn't seem too happy about it. Can Jack convince her that he is the right man to marry her daughter? Find out in Episode 3.

That's the end of this session, and this unit. We hope you've enjoyed our new drama, and learning about the passive voice.

Session Vocabulary

  • guardian      
    someone who is legally responsible for someone else, such as a child whose parents cannot look after them (perhaps because they have died)

    Bunburyist
    an invented word meaning someone who invents a fictitious person (either themselves or someone else)

    invalid                    
    a person who is ill or disabled and is unable to look after themself

    invaluable    
    extremely useful or valuable

    flirts   
    to behave towards someone as if you are romantically or sexually interested in them

    soirée           
    a small party in someone's house, usually with music

    fascinated    
    very interested or attracted

    inspires        
    makes someone enthusiastic about something

    destined       
    certain to happen because of fate

    passionately
    with great feeling or enthusiasm

    christened    
    named in a ceremony that usually takes place in a church

    kneels                    
    in a position with one or both knees on the floor