• Year Published: 1895.
  • Pages: 94.

The Importance of Being Earnest Summary

A man named Jack Worthington is a protagonist in this fantastic play. He is a well-known and major contributor to the Hertfordshire community. He also takes care of, Cecily Cardew. Cecily is a stunning granddaughter of Thomas Cardew who passed away some time ago. She is eighteen years old. It was Thomas who took Jack into care for him as a baby.

Jack has many responsibilities in Hertfordshire. He takes all of them very seriously. His responsibilities include:
Being a well-known land owner, with plenty of tenants, a justice of the peace, a farmer with many servants, and a manager of a large number of employees. All of the employees depend on him.
For a long time now, Jack acted as though his brother Ernest was a black-sheep. This so called brother was one of trouble and scandal. He was always needing Jack to come to his aid. However, this brother is not true at all.
Jack is the only one who knows Earnest’s name and what he is like. In fact, Jack calls himself Earnest while he is in London.

Before we know it, Jack falls in love with a woman named Gwendolen Fairfax. She is a cousin of his best friend who is called Algernon Moncrieff. We first see Algernon believing that Jack’s name is Ernest. But he soon becomes suspicious that something is not right with Jack.

During the first Act of the play, we see Jack visiting Algernon unannounced. He informs him that he wants to marry his sister. However, because Algernon found Jack’s cigarette case, he showed it to him and insisted that he tell him what was going on. He needed to know who “Cecily” and “Jack” were.
Jack decides to tell Algernon the truth of the matter.

Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen’s mother and Gwendolen herself soon appear on to see. Jack makes the most of this opportunity and asks Gwendolen to marry him. He is very happy and relief that Gwendolen gives him the answer he so desired. However, he was surprised to discover that she loved the name Earnest he had given himself. She told him that she may not marry him after all if he did not go by the name Earnest.

Gwendolen’s mother asks Jack many questions. She inquires of his family background. Jack told her the truth and the matter of his situation in life. In the second Act of the play, we see Jack’s best friend Algernon arrive. He decides to pretend that he is Jack’s brother earnest. In the meantime, Jack had decided to stop mentioning Earnest and made up a story about him dying in Paris.
Meanwhile, Algernon goes to look for Doctor Chasuble. Doctor Chasuble is the local rector. He wanted to get Earnest christened.

Gwendolen, on the other hand, thought she would visit Jack without telling him. She in the garden. It is here that Cecily decides to order tea and tries all she can to be hostess.
In Act three, we see the setting in the drawing room of the Manor House. Gwendolen and Cecily have retired. Both women decide to confront Algernon and Jack. When they find out, the women are OK with this but still have their concerns over the name Earnest. However, arrangements were soon made for the christening to occur that very afternoon.

The Importance of Being Earnest Themes

  • Marriage
  • Lies and Deceit
  • Respect
  • Society and Class
  • Love
  • Reputation
  • Gender
  • Foolishness

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