The Importance of Being Earnest is a classic comedy of manners in which two flippant young men, in order to impress their respected beloveds, pretend that their names are “Ernest,” which both young ladies believe confers magical qualities on the possessor. It was first performed for the public on February 14, 1895 at the St. James’ Theatre in London, and is regarded by many critics and scholars as being the wittiest play in the English language.
Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff discover the perils of love, assumed identities, and telling the truth in Oscar Wilde's classic play.
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest is subtitled "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People," and has proved immensely popular since its first performance in 1895. The play certainly has its farcical and comic elements, such as the witty banter exchanged by the characters and the flippant attitude towards love and marriage that characterizes the action. However, the play also explores more serious themes through the central story of Jack Worthing's search for his identity.
The story is about Elinor and Marianne, two daughters of Mr Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, a cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The contrast between the sisters' characters is eventually resolved as they each find love and lasting happiness. Through the events in the novel, Elinor and Marianne encounter the sense and sensibility of life and love. In this dramatic reading, Librivox volunteers lend their voices to bring Jane Austen's classic story to life.
The play begins years after Oedipus has taken the throne of Thebes. The Theban chorus cries out to him for salvation from the plague sent by the gods in response to Laius's murder. Oedipus searches for the murderer, unaware that he himself is guilty of that crime.
The blind prophet Teiresias is called upon to aid the search, but, after his warning against following through with it, Oedipus oppugns him as the murderer, even though he is blind and aged. In response, an angry Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is looking for himself, causing the king to become enraged in incredulity. He then accuses the prophet of conspiring with Creon, Jocasta's brother, to overthrow him.
Oedipus calls for one of Laius's former servants, the only surviving witness of the murder, who fled the city when Oedipus became king in order to avoid being the one to reveal the truth. Soon a messenger from Corinth arrives to inform the king of the death of Polybus, whom Oedipus still believes to be his real father. At this point, the messenger informs him that he was in fact adopted and that his true parentage is unknown. In the subsequent discussions between Oedipus, Jocasta, the servant and the messenger, the second-mentioned surmises the truth and runs away in shame.
This is the second installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays that chronicles the tragic fates of Oedipus and his family. After fulfilling the prophecy that predicted he would kill his father and marry his mother, Oedipus blinds himself and leaves Thebes, to wander in the wilderness accompanied by his daughters Antigone and Ismene.
This is the final installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays, following Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus's daughter Antigone deliberately breaks the laws of Thebes when she buries her brother's body and is sentenced to death. She clashes with Creon, the King of Thebes, over what constitutes justice and morality: the laws of the state or the laws of the individual.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play in two parts. It is Goethe's most famous work and considered by many to be one of the greatest works of German literature.
This first part of Faust is not divided into acts, but is structured as a sequence of scenes in a variety of settings. After a dedicatory poem and a prelude in the theatre, the actual plot begins with a prologue in Heaven and Scene 1 in Faust's study.
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
The Sign of the Four, the second of four novels featuring Sherlock Holmes, has a complex plot involving India, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact among four convicts and two corrupt prison guards. Some of Holmes's less savory habits are revealed, and Dr. Watson finds romance. In this dramatic reading, LibriVox volunteers bring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic characters to life.
Shaw, George Bernard
Pygmalion (1913) is a play by George Bernard Shaw based on the Greek myth of the same name. It tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics (based on phonetician Henry Sweet), who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can successfully pass off a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a refined society lady by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette. In the process, Higgins and Doolittle grow close, but she ultimately rejects his domineering ways and declares she will marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill – a young, poor, gentleman. - The play was later the basis for the successful movie adaptation "My Fair Lady" with Audrey Hepburn as Eliza and Rex Harrison as Prof. Higgins.
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, normally known simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play.
An Ideal Husband is an 1895 comedy by Oscar Wilde which revolves around blackmail and political corruption, and touches on the themes of public and private honor. The action is set in London, in "the present", and takes place within a single day. "Sooner or later," Wilde notes, "we shall all have to pay for what we do." But he adds that, "No one should be entirely judged by their past."
Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In it, Hedda Gabler, daughter of an aristocratic General, has just returned from her honeymoon with George Tesman, an aspiring young academic, reliable but not brilliant, who has combined research with their honeymoon. The reappearance of Tesman's academic rival, Eilert Lovborg, throws their lives into disarray.
The Proposal is a one act comic farce by Anton Chekhov. In Chekhov's Russia, marriage was a means of economic stability for most people. They married to gain wealth and possessions. In this play, the concept of marriage is being satirized to show the real purpose of marriage - materialistic gain rather than true love.
The Cherry Orchard is Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's last play. It premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Constantin Stanislavski. Chekhov intended this play as a comedy and it does contain some elements of farce; however, Stanislavski insisted on directing the play as a tragedy. Since this initial production, directors have had to contend with the dual nature of this play.
The play concerns an aristocratic Russian woman and her family as they return to the family's estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. The story presents themes of cultural futility — both the futility of the aristocracy to maintain its status and the futility of the bourgeoisie to find meaning in its newfound materialism. In reflecting the socio-economic forces at work in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century and the sinking of the aristocracy, the play reflects forces at work around the globe in that period.
(Summary from Wikipedia, edited by Elizabeth Klett)
An outbreak of plague in London forces a gentleman, Lovewit, to flee temporarily to the country, leaving his house under the sole charge of his butler, Jeremy. Jeremy uses the opportunity given to him to use the house as the headquarters for fraudulent acts. He transforms himself into 'Captain Face', and enlists the aid of Subtle, a fellow conman and Dol Common, a prostitute. In The Alchemist, Jonson unashamedly satirizes the follies, vanities and vices of mankind, most notably greed-induced credulity. People of all social classes are subject to Jonson's ruthless, satirical wit. He mocks human weakness and gullibility to advertising and to "miracle cures" with the character of Sir Epicure Mammon, who dreams of drinking the elixir of youth and enjoying fantastic sexual conquests. The Alchemist focuses on what happens when one human being seeks advantage over another. In a big city like London, this process of advantage-seeking is rife. The trio of con-artists - Subtle, Face and Dol - are self-deluding small-timers, ultimately undone by the same human weaknesses they exploit in their victims. (Summary by Wikipedia)
On the surface, this short play is a slice-of-life story about a murder investigation in the rural United States. However, it is also a story about the relationships between men and women, husbands and wives, and the often-overlooked "trifles" which can say so much about a person's life.
Inheritors, (1921) by American dramatist Susan Glaspell concerns the legacy of an idealistic farmer who wills his highly coveted midwest farmland to the establishment of a college (Act I.) Forty years later, when his granddaughter stands up for the rights of Hindu nationals to protest at the college her grandfather founded, she jeopardizes funding for the college itself and sets herself against her own uncle, president of the institution's trustees (Acts II and III.) Ultimately, she defies her family's wishes, and as a consequence is bound for prison herself (Act IV.) The play was a stirring defense of free speech and an individual's ability to stand for his or her own ideal during a time of aggressive anti-Communist politics in the US. Inheritors was first performed at Provincetown Playhouse in 1922, the last of Glaspell's plays presented there. It has been revived in New York City by Mirror Repertory in 1983 and Metropolitan Playhouse in 2005. (Summary by Wikipedia)
Shaw, George Bernard
The story centers on the relationship between Mrs Kitty Warren, a rich woman, described by the author as "on the whole, a genial and fairly presentable old blackguard of a woman" and her daughter, Vivie. Mrs Warren is a middle-aged woman whose Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, is horrified to discover the sinister way her mother acquired her fortune.
The Seagull is the first of what are generally considered to be the four major plays by the Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov. The play was written in 1895 and first produced in 1896. It dramatises the romantic and artistic conflicts between four characters: the ingenue Nina, the fading leading lady Irina Arkadina, her son the experimental playwright Konstantin Treplyov, and the famous middlebrow story writer Trigorin. (Wikipedia)
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound. (summary by Wikipedia)
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.