Setting: Begins in a flat in London then proceeds to a manor house in the countryside in the late 1800's.
Plot: Two men, John Jack Earnest Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, use the deception [a Bunbury] that both their names were Ernest, in order to secure marriage to the women they love, Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew. Then there is the ultimate unraveling of their lies, which still ends in their impending nuptials.Cast of Key CharactersJohn Jack Ernest Worthing"Bon-vivant" [Jack to Algernon 2] Algernon is asking Jack what brought him to town. Jack has come to town to get away from his responsibilities in the country, his ward Cecily, and to see Gwendolen, whom he wishes to propose marriage. In order to do this he has committed the Bunbury that he has come to see his brother, Ernest, who doesn't exist. He wishes to enjoy the pleasures before attending to his guardian duties.
Quote: "When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.""Curmudgeon" [Jack to Algernon 3] Jack has come to propose to Gwendolen. Which is the express reason behind his lying about his name being Ernest. Algy feels that is business not pleasure.
Jack thinks it is utterly unromantic. Algernon says he will forget about romance when he is married. Though Algy doesn't know it yet when he sees Cecily he will shed this view. Jack feels that the view Algernon has, others do also and that is what causes the dissolution process to be born. Jack is generalizing his cynical view of unromantic people.
Quote: "The divorce court was specially invented for people whose memories are so curiously constituted.""Architect" [Jack to Algy 3] Algy has said it is distasteful the way Gwendolen and Jack flirt with each other. This prompts Jack to state his romantic intentions toward Gwendolen. Jack has a specific goal, which is to marry Gwendolen. This is his sole purpose for coming to town.
Jack is so intent on marrying Gwendolen he has created a bunbury, the phantom brother Ernest, in order to see her. He also lies that his name is Ernest. Quote: "I am in love with Gwendolen. I have come to town expressly to propose to her.""Conniver" [Jack to Algernon 4] Algernon is trying to found why there is an inscription of the name Cecily on Jacks lighter. Jack creates the lie tha...
... middle of paper ...
...s' lies than they knew.
When Cecily tells Algy that she and he are already engaged and have been for some three months. She gives him the account of their lives thus far as lived in her dairy. She has lived out their relationship in her diary. She has dreamed up the man that now stands in front of her.
Miss Prism has written a novel herself. Later we find out that her novel is the key to Jack's true identity. When Miss Prism was younger she was caring for an infant, when she accidentally switched the baby with the book. She placed the infant in her handbag and the novel in the baby carrier. The infant was Jack, whose real name is Ernest. Jack's parents are really Algernon's parents also.
This means that every time Jack came to town to see Algy he really was seeing his wayward brother. With the truth exposed it also means that Algernon was only lying to Cecily about being named Ernest, because he truly is John Jack Ernest Worthing's brother. Being earnest is being truthful. The quote that entails this ideal is on pg. 40 [Algernon to Jack] "Well, one must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life. I happen to be serious about Bunburying..."
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