Food symbolizes excess, or overindulgence. For instance, Algernon cannot stop eating cucumber sandwiches, or muffins when they are put in front of him, suggesting that his appetites are just as excessive as his eccentric, flamboyant, and extravagant airs.
Food Symbol Timeline in The Importance of Being Earnest
The timeline below shows where the symbol Food appears in The Importance of Being Earnest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Part 1
...butler Lane sets the parlor on stage for tea. While Algernon absentmindedly munches on cucumber sandwiches, prepared for Aunt Augusta (Lady Bracknell) and cousin Gwendolen’s visit, he remarks on an inaccurate... (full context)
...“misunderstanding between [himself] and a young person.” Algernon sends Lane away to get some more sandwiches and comments to himself that Lane’s views on marriage are rather “lax,” considering that the... (full context)
Act 1, Part 2
...with Algernon about her recently widowed friend. Lady Bracknell asks for one of the cucumber sandwiches Algernon has promised her. Algernon, realizing that he has devoured every single sandwich, directs blame... (full context)
Act 2, Part 2
...jealousies play out over the course of a tea service. Gwendolen refuses Cecily’s offer of sugar and cake, while making snide remarks about Cecily’s tasteless country upbringing. Cecily responds, dumping healthy... (full context)