Comparing Don Juan and Jack Worthing

2130 Words9 Pages
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and Don Juan by Lord Byron are two

distinctive pieces in British literature. In both stories, the male characters take center stage. The

character of Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest and Juan in Don Juan share

many similarities. Both men are from the upper class, both take an avid interest in the opposite

sex, and both are controlled by the women in their lives. The difference between these two

characters arises in their outcomes and may stem from the fact that each author is from a

distinct literary era. Lord Byron’s work is associated with the Romantic movement, a

movement concerned about bringing genuine characteristics to the forefront in order to break

barriers between classes. In Don Juan, Juan, after having an affair with a married woman, is sent

off to travel by his mother—possibly so he does not have to face society after such a scandal. His

affair and subservience shows he is weak. Despite his aristocracy, Bryon shows Juan as a

flawed character in order to make him relatable to all classes. Oscar Wilde’s work is considered

part of the late Victorian era, a period that was all about appearances. At the end of The

Importance of Being Earnest, Jack blackmails his way into marrying a girl of equal status,

Gwendolen. This act shows that he is manipulative—everything he does is for his own benefit.

Jack is shown to be to concerned about his own appearance and does not care who he hurts in the

process. Each author describes each male character’s outcome in relation to the literary

movement he was connected to.

One similarity Jack and Juan share is that they are both from the upper class. In Don

Juan, Lord Byron provides the au...

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Works Cited

Craft, Christopher. "Alias Bunbury: Desire and Termination in The Importance of Being

Earnest." University of California Press, 1990. 19-46 Web. 1 May 2012

Clubbe, John. Keats-Shelley Journal Vol. 24. 1975. 152-55. Print

Lauber, John. “Don Juan as Anti-Epic” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 Vol. 8, No.

4, Nineteenth Century (Autumn, 1968), pp. 607-619

Lord Byron. “ Don Juan.” The Norton Anthology of English Litearture. 8th ed. Vol. D. New

York. Norton. 2006. 670-697.Print

"Romanticism." The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.

“Sigmund Freud Quotes." Sigmund Freud Quotes (Author of the Interpretation of Dreams).

Goodreads Inc. Web. 01 May 2012.

Wilde, Oscar. “ The Importance of Being Earnest”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

8th ed. Vol E. New York. Norton. 2006. 1698-1740Print.
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