Everything you ever wanted to know about Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest, Why would Wilde make Jack and Algernon so much alike?. The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde . Allan Aynesworth, who played Algernon Moncrieff, recalled to Hesketh Pearson that "In my fifty-three years of acting, I never .. Jack Worthing ( Ernest), a young gentleman from the country, in love with Gwendolen Fairfax. Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff. Could Wilde make Jack and Algernon any more similar? They're both single men out to find the girls of their dreams.
Lots of people die of apoplexy, quite suddenly, don't they? Uncle Jack, do be nice. There is some good in every one.
Ernest has just been telling me about his poor invalid friend Mr. Bunbury whom he goes to visit so often. And surely there must be much good in one who is kind to an invalid, and leaves the pleasures of London to sit by a bed of pain. It is so much more real than life.
He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Magdalene College, Oxford, where he was distinguished for his scholarship and wit, and also for his eccentricity in dress, tastes, and manners, which represented the opposite of the middle -class conformism: Wilde was charged with homosexual offences under the Criminal Law Amendment, found guilty, and sentenced to prison for two years. He lived in France until his death, plagued by ill health and bankruptcy.
The concept of playing roles, posing and living with a double identity is important for an investigation of both Wilde's life and the play. Wilde posed as the decadent family father who enthused about a life that was far away from moral. He posed as the successful artist and brilliant poet.
He presented the beauty of body and soul. He was the dandy. He was a client of homosexual prostitution. He ended up a ruined man with a broken personality. His life seemed to be a compromise between social rules and personal likings.
Relationships in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wi by Kelsea Ranks on Prezi
It cannot be said that he disliked the Victorian society. He knew how to use people for his own benefit, whether it was to learn about opinions and behaviour in salons or simply listen to them in order to form an idea of the workings of society: Social roles are very closely related to social classes.
According to "The Victorian Web"8, social class means: In our context classes are the more or less distinct social groupings which at any given historical period, taken as a whole, constituted British society. Different social classes can be and were by the classes themselves distinguished by inequalities in such areas as power, authority, wealth, working and living conditions, life-styles, life-span, education, religion, and culture.
The Importance of Being Earnest - Wikipedia
While the upper class maintained control over the political system, the working class was widely shut out of the political process. A social role is the behaviour within a social class.
One can meet the expectations of society, or one cannot. Social roles are often acquired in childhood, they are reflected in a person's identity, and cause an individual to act and react in a certain way, depending on the acquired schemata and, according to the social class an individual belongs to. Social roles also determine what to do with experiences and hopes in life, how to understand what is right, obligations, and expected behaviour patterns associated with a particular social status.
A main theme of the play is role -playing. This happens in so far that the protagonists claim to be socially engaged towards indigent people or pretend to be somebody else, with the only purpose to enjoy their freedom while at the same time meeting social expectations. Wilde uses the concept of a dandy for both Algernon and Jack. Algernon as the nephew of Lady Bracknell is a well-established member of the upper class.
The pretence of his character Bunbury seems to be the most normal thing in his life, there are no signs of guilty conscience. Algernon seems to be unfailing and to be right in every situation. Being a dandy, it was not he and his friends who emptied eight bottles of champagne but his butler. Worthing were dining with me, eight bottles of champagne are entered as having been consumed. Yes, sir; eight bottles and a pint.
I ask merely for information. Both identify themselves as "British gentlemen". Lanes views on marriage seem somewhat lax.
They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility. It is a very ungentlemanly thing to read a private cigarette case. He is a judge of peace and a guardian, but he is also a foundling who was found in a hand bag at a train station. This fact has always been problematic to him, since he could not even present one parent. But the world of nobility he wished to enter demanded for parents, since nobility evolved from the old hereditary aristocracy whose members were gentlemen by right of birth.
The women Gwendolyn and Cecily are proper young ladies, self conscious, emancipated and support their individuality. They would probably be able to make their own way, since both have been well educated. But on the other side, their idealization of the name "Ernest" shows a narrow-mindedness which could result from a very protected childhood. Both ladies have been raised by a governess, a guardian or a mother. Lady Bracknell is a conservative Victorian lady and considered to be one of Wilde's most successful comic figures.
The Importance of Being Earnest: Character Profiles
She is " elegant, well-dressed, highly self-assured, She is very much concerned about being a perfect host for her friends, but little cares about any responsibility towards family and marriage. It is important what can be presented to society outunimportant what can be presented to privacy in: It would put my table completely out. Your uncle would have to dine upstairs. Fortunately he is accustomed to that. That is not the destiny I propose for Gwendolen. Algernon, of course, can choose for himself.
To miss any more might expose us to comment on the platform. I dare not even suspect, Dr. I need hardly tell you that in families of high position strange coincidences are not supposed to occur.
They are hardly considered the thing. Worthing, I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.
Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over. Only when she learns about her fortune ofpounds she suddenly changes her mind: There are distinct social possibilities in your profile.
- Social Role and Double Life in Oscar Wilde`s "The Importance of Being Ernest"
The two weak points in our age are its want of principle and its want of profile. The chin a little higher, dear. Style largely depends on the way the chin is worn. They are worn very high, just at present. Well, I am really only eighteen, but I always admit to twenty when I go to evening parties.
Upon what grounds may I ask? Algernon is an extremely, I may almost say an ostentatiously, eligible young man. He has nothing, but he looks everything.
What more can one desire? She is part of the family while at the same time being a servant. She initially appears as a stereotype of the Victorian governess, although she is able to write a novel: Supposedly because she did not fulfil the expectations of a governess, Miss Prism never returned home, and thus Lady Bracknell's behaviour about the presence of Miss Prism in Jack's house is justified.
The butlers Lane and Merriman are also perfect examples of Victorian butlers in that they wittily antagonise their masters. Lane seems to be equally dandyish as Algernon and parodies the type of Victorian butler whose mind is sharper than his master's - as we see in the very first lines of the play: Did you hear what I was playing, Lane? According to Longman's Dictionary of English Language and Culture, identity is defined as "who or what a particular person or a thing is" For a better understanding, more concepts of "identity" are necessary.
For a more philosophical approach, "identity" is described as "In personal identity the concern has been to determine whether anything in the body or mind remains constant; philosophers have reached no general agreement on this point. The term identity has also become increasingly important in modern psychology, largely through the work of Erik Eriksson.
He has used the term to designate a sense of self that develops in the course of a man's life and that both relates him to and sets him apart from his social milieu. It has become a recognized result of social studies that people 's identity changes with social settings, social role and group behaviour mechanism In Algernon and Jack kinds of split personalities can be determined.
The term "split personality" is not to be seen in the medical sense of mental illness, since in such a case, the affected persons do not have control over their personalities. In the play both have consciously created their double identities and even cultivate them within the social environment and use them consciously as an alibi to escape any social obligations whenever they feel uncomfortable.
Algernon's attempts to get to know who Cecily is, lead to the revelation about "Ernest" and "Jack": Well, my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country, and the cigarette case was given to me in the country. Worthing, there is some error. I am afraid that the news I have to give you will not altogether please you.
You are the son of my poor sister, Mrs. Always looking for his true identity and seeking for his own familiar background, might have been a reason for his unconcerned double life. Jack sometimes left his social role with all its restrictions for a little pleasure, lived a double life without any need for justification - and, different to Oscar Wilde who was imprisoned, was rewarded for what he did.
It could also show a general attitude that predominates the Victorian Society. Algernon's understanding of identity is the following: You have always told me it was Ernest. I have introduced you to every one as Ernest. You answer to the name of Ernest. You look as if your name was Ernest. You are the most earnest-looking person I ever saw in my life.
Here is one of them. He denied the term "farce" was derogatory, or even lacking in seriousness, and said "It is of nonsense all compact, and better nonsense, I think, our stage has not seen. Wellsin an unsigned review for The Pall Mall Gazettecalled Earnest one of the freshest comedies of the year, saying "More humorous dealing with theatrical conventions it would be difficult to imagine. Tapping's company toured Earnest between October and March their performance at the Theatre Royal, Limerick, in the last week of October was almost certainly the first production of the play in Ireland.
Elsie Lanham's company also toured 'Earnest' between November and April Alexander presented another revival of Earnest at the St James's inwhen he and Aynesworth reprised their original roles;  the revival ran for performances.
Matthews succeeded the creators as Jack and Algy. It was not until the s that the case for s costumes was established; as a critic in The Manchester Guardian put it, "Thirty years on, one begins to feel that Wilde should be done in the costume of his period—that his wit today needs the backing of the atmosphere that gave it life and truth.
The Times considered the production the best since the original, and praised it for its fidelity to Wilde's conception, its "airy, responsive ball-playing quality. During a season at the Haymarket the King and Queen attended a performance,  which, as the journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft put it, gave the play "a final accolade of respectability.
A revival was directed by Michael Fentiman for the Vaudeville TheatreLondon, as part of a season of four Wilde plays produced by Dominic Dromgoole. The production received largely negative press reviews. Ernest has come from the country to propose to Algernon's cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax. Algernon refuses to consent until Ernest explains why his cigarette case bears the inscription, "From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack. In the country, he assumes a serious attitude for the benefit of his young wardthe heiress Cecily Cardew, and goes by the name of John or Jackwhile pretending that he must worry about a wastrel younger brother named Ernest in London.
In the city, meanwhile, he assumes the identity of the libertine Ernest. Algernon confesses a similar deception: Jack refuses to tell Algernon the location of his country estate. Gwendolen and her formidable mother Lady Bracknell now call on Algernon who distracts Lady Bracknell in another room while Jack proposes to Gwendolen.
She accepts, but seems to love him in large part because of his name, Ernest. Jack accordingly resolves to himself to be rechristened "Ernest". Discovering them in this intimate exchange, Lady Bracknell interviews Jack as a prospective suitor. Horrified to learn that he was adopted after being discovered as a baby in a handbag at Victoria Station, she refuses him and forbids further contact with her daughter.
Gwendolen manages to covertly promise to him her undying love. As Jack gives her his address in the country, Algernon surreptitiously notes it on the cuff of his sleeve: Jack's revelation of his pretty and wealthy young ward has motivated his friend to meet her.
Algernon arrives, pretending to be Ernest Worthing, and soon charms Cecily. Long fascinated by Uncle Jack's hitherto absent black sheep brother, she is predisposed to fall for Algernon in his role of Ernest a name she is apparently particularly fond of.