It is a well known phenomenon that many authors' lives are reflected through a character in their work. In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, the double life, or double identity, can be seen as the central metaphor in the play, epitomized in Algernon's creation of "Bunbury" or "Bunburying". As this term is the only fictitious word employed throughout the text, it is crucial to critically analyze not only its use and implications, but more importantly, the character who coins the term; Algernon Moncrieff. In addition, it is also significant to note the marked differences between Algernon and Jack's perceptions of the notion of bunburying, as it further develops Algernon's character within the text. But perhaps the single most
The Importance of Being Earnest appears to be a conventional 19th century farce. False identities, prohibited engagements, domineering mothers, lost children are typical of almost every farce. However, this is only on the surface in Wilde's play. His parody works at two levels- on the one hand he ridicules the manners of the high society and on the other he satirises the human condition in general. The characters in The Importance of Being Earnest assume false identities in order to achieve their goals but do not interfere with the others' lives. The double life led by Algernon, Jack, and Cecily (through her diary) is simply another means by which they liberate
implications are clear when we discover that Jack's real Christian name is in fact Ernest John.
Later, when Jack reveals all his truth about the name Ernest, Algernon responds by saying:
By stating that he did not know anyone by the name of Cecily, Jack initiates his own debacle. He has to clarify that Cecily is actual his ward. Nonetheless, Jack bears no anguish to dissembling to his closest companion. Jack’s morality has been impaired by his lies and it implies that his animalistic qualities control him. Yet, he falls in love and he must tell Gwendolen, his sweetheart, of his morally wrong character. In order to do so Jack has to disclose that Ernest was not in fact his real name but a mere alias created to cover up his dastardly ways. He can think of no other way than to “kill” his brother. Wilde shows how Jack’s urbane nature begins to be marred by his animalism since he was willing to kill a man, fictional or not. Ensuing in the play Jack is speaking with Algernon and he begins to ponder on how to commit the murder. He states “My poor brother Ernest is carried off suddenly in Paris, by a severe chill. That gets rid of him” (Wilde 16). Though fictional, Jack’s murder of Ernest still seems to carry the same implications further into the book. This murder eventually skews his reputation once his lies become known. Wilde proves how Jack’s lies soon catch up to him and flaw his esteemed moral persona. Later in the play Algernon sets off on a trip to Jack’s country estate and claims he is Ernest Worthing. Later when Jack arrives Cecily informs her caretaker that his brother Ernest is in his room. Jack replies
Jack Worthing lived a double life where his alter ego was Ernest Worthing. This alter identity lived in the city and acted as a gentleman to impress a young lady named Gwendolen. Jack’s true identity resided in the country caring for Cecily. Cecily believed that Ernest was Jack’s troubled brother, therefore it was comprehensible that Jack would leave the country suddenly to go to the city to visit his brother. Jack’s double life had remained secret until Algernon discovered a cigarette case with Jack’s name on it, forcing Jack to reveal that his name is “Ernest in town and Jack in the country, and the cigarette case was given to [him] in the country” (Wilde 12). The alter identity developed by Jack was merely a dream. The dreamer archetype allows dreamers to
“The Importance of Being Earnest,” a satirical play written by Oscar Wilde, discusses a vast variety of criticisms regarding the late Victorian societal period. In this comedic drama, focusing on and analyzing certain minor characters leads to a more effective interpretation of the messages attempting to be portrayed to the audience. For example, through the persona of Lady Bracknell, Wilde effectively mocks the concept of marriage for social status rather than love. Additionally, interpreting the roles of the lower class servants allows the readers to internalize the desperate need for social reform that the author felt at the time period. Finally, the entire concept of Bunburyism, or masquerading as an alternate persona, satirizes the hypocrisy of the Victorian Era.
Jack uses his alter-ego, Ernest, as a escape from his boring and prude life, however as duty starts to call append itself and Jack seeks to marry a woman he met,Gwendolen, and he now wishes to rid his alter-ego but not without consequence. As, Gwendolen’s fixation on the name Ernest and Ernest alone, Jack has to choose between his two worlds, and his lies eventually become his undoing. Wilde’s play and the character Jack Worthing was meant to expose the Victorian Era’s repressive and suffocating norms, The classes care so much about being respectable that they are willing to lie about it, The Importance of Being Earnest reveals the differences between the behavior of the people and the
The play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde is set in England during the late 19th century during the rule of Queen Victoria and features two bachelors, Algernon Moncrieff and John Worthing, and their struggle to impress the women they want to marry while remaining their true selves. Wilde presents the theme of superficiality through the approach to names in the play and the importance of appearances. (or looks? Gwen and Cecily fight plus dandy).
Oscar Wilde is judging society as pertaining to them living two different lives where they can be who they actually, want to be. Jack and Algernon run to the city where they can go to do the things they judge people for while in the country. Jack feels "When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring". The characters have also created a thing such as Bunbury which gives them a way of life which offers away for the characters to escape from the social norms. Oscar Wilde has created two completely different society's one where the characters can go. We also can begin to see the story of Oscar Wilde into this book and how he is considered a higher member of society but he is also living another life as being a homosexual man we could question maybe if he was questioning the way that he lived and how he felt he
Jack illustrates the purpose of deception by using Earnest to escape his role of Cecily’s warden. When Algernon finds Jack’s cigarette case, he is shocked to find the name Jack graven inside. Jack attempts to explain by saying, “[M]y name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country” (Wilde Act I). As Jack, he has to be a responsible adult and take care of his niece Cecily but as Ernest he is able to live the wild life of a young bachelor. By pretending to be Ernest in town, Jack is freed from the restrictions of being a caretaker, yet he still fulfills the duties of one as he resides in the country. While explaining why he has two identities to Algernon, Jack states that being a guardian does not “conduce very much to either one’s health or one’s happiness” (Wilde Act I). Jack has to take care of Cecily, be responsible for her, and set rules and guidelines for her to follow. In his role of guardian, he finds himself unable to have fun, so he creates an irresponsible, carefree
Being one of the most famous plays written by Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest is a romantic comedy that makes good use of the conflicts of characters to deal with themes such as marriage, social class and hypocrisy. There are two different types of conflict to drive plot and capture audience attention in a story: internal and external conflict. The former concerns a character’s emotional, moral or ideological dilemma within his own mind; the latter concerns a character’s struggle against an opposing view from another character, society or the nature. In fact, in The Importance of Being Earnest, by increasing the story’s tension and enhancing character development, the internal and external conflicts of Jack Worthing contribute
Oscar Wilde’s play entitled “The Importance of Being Earnest” illustrates the concept of dual personality, fantasy, love, and lies. Jack, Algernon, Gwendolyn, and Cecily all live in lies. They are manipulated by their fantasies and desire for perfect relationship and love. Jack, the protagonist in the play, is the root of lies because of his imaginary brother named Earnest. Algernon uses the name to win Cecily, while Gwendolyn and Cecily are both fascinated by this name because it expresses strength and perfection of manhood. Due to their search and desire to have Earnest, the male and female characters escape from the reality. Therefore, Wilde in The Importance of Being Earnest portrays a gender doubled
One thing that Jack and Algernon have in common is that they both have these false faces. Algernon’s alter ego Bunbury is a version of himself used in the country but he uses Ernest to marry Cecily. The story deals with Ernest, this immorally imaginary man that both Cecily and Gwendolyn become engaged to, it exemplifies the irony within the name. Most of the irony comes from this character. One of Wilde's satiric targets is romantic and sentimental love, which he ridicules by having the women fall in love with a man because of his name rather than more personal attributes. Gwendolyn said “No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces
For Wilde, the word earnest comprised two different but related ideas: the notion of false truth and the notion of false morality, or moralism. The moralism of Victorian society—its smugness and pomposity—impels Algernon and Jack to invent fictitious alter egos so as to be able to escape the strictures of propriety and decency. However, what one member of society considers decent or indecent doesn’t always reflect what decency really is. One of the play’s paradoxes is the impossibility of actually being either earnest (meaning “serious” or “sincere”) or moral while claiming to be so. The