The Importance of Being Earnest Characters Analysis

John (Jack/Ernest) Worthing, J.P.

John Worthington is said to be the protagonist of the play. He is apparently quite responsible and well respected by those who know him. However, he decides to lead a double life. Whilst in Hertfordshire, people there have come to know him as Jack. When in London, people know him as Earnest. Jack was taken in by an old man as a baby who was found in a handbag in a cloakroom. Jack grew to love a cousin of his best friend whom he eventually married. He was also a Justice of the Pace as his initials indicate.
Algernon Moncrieff
Algernon is the next best hero of this enjoyable play. Many women will find him very charming. Algernon is also a well known lazy bachelor who knows how to tease people. Algernon is the cousin of Gwendolen Fairfax, Lady Bracknell’s nephew, and Jack’s best friend. He also went with the name Earnest for a large number of years. Many would describe Algernon as amoral, fantastic, selfish and witty. He also came up with an imaginary friend whose name was Bunbury.

Gwendolen Fairfax

Gwendolen is the daughter of Lady Bracknell. She is also Algernon’s cousin. It is she who very quickly fell in love with Jack. She has always believed that his name was Earnest. Gwendolen was a rich woman who was very fashionable. In fact, she was a model. She speaks very loudly on moral matters. Gwendolen has been described as pretentious, intellectual, sophisticated and cosmopolitan. She is obsessed with the name Earnest. In fact, she would not even marry another man who did not have this name.
Cecily Cardew

Cecily was the granddaughter of the old man who took Jack in when he was a baby. She is very realistic but similar to Gwendolen. She too loved the name earnest. However, she was more attracted to the idea of wickedness. Because of this, she found herself very attracted to Earnest, Jack’s pretend brother. She soon developed a rather intriguing and interesting courtship and romance between the two of them.
Lady Bracknell
Lady Bracknell is a very domineering woman. She was a mother to Gwendolen, and Aunt to Algernon. Many would see her as a snob who was very mercenary. Gwendolen’s mother married well. Her aim was to make sure her daughter would also marry well. Lady Bracknell even had a list of suitable men that she thought would suit her daughter. She always had an interview ready for each young man she met. Lady Bracknell is similar to her nephew by creating some very hilarious announcements. However, Algernon is always witty, but Lady Bracknell was always unintentional. Lady Bracknell could be seen as a hypocrite and stupid by some in the British area she came from. She loves ignorance. If she hosts a dinner party of all kinds, she would always send her husband to eat his meal downstairs with the servants of her house. Lady Bracknell can also be described as authoritarian, cunning and very narrow-minded. There are many quotes said of her within the play.

The Importance of Being Earnest Secondary Characters

  • Miss Prism
  • Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.
  • Merriman
  • Lane


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