Importance of Being Earnest - Character Key Points

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Jade
  • Created on: 19-08-13 13:17
Preview of Importance of Being Earnest - Character Key Points

First 464 words of the document:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
JACK WORTHING
Bossy acts as older brother to Algy (gives Algy should and shouldn't in the very first scene)
Guardian to Cecily ­ used to setting rules
Materialistic
Gwen's ("sophisticated, city girl") style, education and good name are important to Jack
Responsible, respectable young man
Wealthy & belongs to the upper class ­ can support his idle life without racking up debt (like Algy)
Welleducated
Lives a double life
Dandy
Dishonest
Doesn't change or develop over the course of the play
SYMBOLISM
Double life ­ "Well my name is Ernest in the town and Jack in the country"
Jack leads a double life. He is Jack is the country and pretends to have a troublesome brother in
the city, named Ernest, so that he can escape the boredom and responsibility of the country. This
madeup brother allows Jack to seem to uphold the highest moral standards, while really
misbehaving without suffering consequences
This double life contributes to the humour of the play by Algy pretending to Jack's imaginary
brother. This is especially comical after Jack appears in his `mourning clothes' at the loss of his
brother, and then should appear a very real Algy pretending to be Ernest.
Abandonment­ "In a handbag" "In the cloakroom at Victoria Station" "The Brighton Line"
Jack was deposited in the cloak room of Victoria Station (the Brighton line ­ "the line is immaterial"
Lady B) in a handbag by Miss Prism.
This is very comically revealed during Lady Bracknell's husband test for Jack. She asks "Are your
parents living" he replies "I have lost both my parents", the conversation develops after Jack states
he was "found". Lady Bracknell is "bewildered" by this and she says that Jack should "acquire some
relations".
CONTRIBUTION TO WILDE'S MOCKERY OF SOCIETY
Over the course of the play Wilde manages to mock all virtues of Victorian society ­ beauty, youth,
fashion, social ascendance, education and religious piety.
Jack is a very shallow persona who lacks any sincerity and lies to everyone. He lies to Algy, Gwen
& Lady B by saying he was called Ernest and to Cecily and everyone in the country by saying he
had a brother in the city called Ernest. He also shows next to no remorse or guilt for his lies and
rather than being punished he is seemingly rewarded by Gwendolen's hand and Lady Bracknell's
consent.
Page 1 of 8

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
There is an irony in Jack's real name, Ernest. This because Ernest is a name which suggests
truthfulness and sincerity neither of which Jack could be said to be.
The persona of Jack Worthing is one which mocks the virtue of sincerity and morality.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
Algernon Moncrieff
Mischievous ­ pretending to be Jack imaginary brother Ernest
Charming bachelor
Lazy and not very useful ­ spends his time eating and playing the piano badly
Prone to boredom ­ invents Bunbury to escape boring situations and unwanted invitations
Greedy ­ is attracted by Cecily's money
Selfcentred ­
Inclined to make witty remarks ­ life is a game#
Only passion is for food, drink and clothes
Lies almost all the time ­ Bunbury (doesn't exist), sandwiches (eats…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
Gwendolen Fairfax
Lady Bracknell Jr. ­ shows every likelihood of turning into her mother
Opinionated and forceful ­ bosses Cecily around
City girl ­ enjoys this advantage over C & there are many town v country barbs in the tea scene
Fashionable all the time ­ doesn't want sugar in her tea because it is "unfashionable" and doesn't
want cake because it is "rarely seen in the best of houses".…read more

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Here's a taster:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
Over the course of the play Wilde manages to mock all virtues of Victorian society ­ beauty, youth,
fashion, social ascendance, education and religious piety.
Through the persona of Gwendolen, Wilde mocks the Victorian virtues of beauty, youth and
education by making her incredibly shallow and without any clear principles. For example, she is
prepared to lose a suitor because he doesn't bare her favourite name (Ernest).…read more

Page 6

Preview of page 6

Here's a taster:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
CECILY CARDEW
Country girl
Jack ward
Obsessed with the name Ernest
Highly imaginative ­ dreams up her engagement to Jack's brother Ernest
Mischievous ­ Gives Gwen sugar in her tea and cake which she didn't ask for and also get rid of
Miss Prism
Vivid diary ­ she seems to write in her diary and wait for Ernest to come
Quick witted and determined ­ makes up for her lack of knowledge of the city by using wit
SYMBOLISM…read more

Page 7

Preview of page 7

Here's a taster:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
Lady Bracknell
Overbearing and powerful ­ objects to a lot of thing in the play and orders Gwen about constantly
Symbol of the rules and tradition of Victorian society
Stands in judgment of everyone else ­ husband test and christenings
Direct ­ says what she thinks which is often comical
Often unintentionally funny
Snob ­ made fun of by Wilde
SYMBOLISM
Husband Test
Considering Lady Bracknell's background of social obscurity, it is unreasonable for her to object to
Jack…read more

Page 8

Preview of page 8

Here's a taster:

Importance of Being Earnest ­ Characters
WILDE'S WIDER INTENSIONS AND MOCKERY OF VICTORIAN SOCIETY
Over the course of the play Wilde mocks:
Beauty ­ creates Gwen and Cecily who are very pretty but concerned with shallow things
such as having a husband called Ernest.…read more

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all resources »