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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…

Page 2

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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.…

Page 3

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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…

Page 4

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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…

Page 5

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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…

Page 6

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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…

Page 7

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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…

Page 8

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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.
Youth ­ creates the silly, mischievous…

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