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 The Importance  Of  Being Earnest




The play is divided into three acts. The action happens in the West End of London, and in the countryside of England.

In the first scene Algernon Moncrieff is playing the piano, when Lane, the manservant, enters. They speak about the cucumber sandwiches which are supposed to have been prepared for Lady Bracknell, who is Algernon’s aunt, and her daughter, Gwendolen .They are expected to visit him that afternoon. In that moment  comes from the country  John Worthing, who is Algernon’s friend. Jack tells Algernon that he is in love with Gwendolen, and he is going to propose to her. Besides, he confesses he is Ernest in town and Jack in the country. He has invented a wicked brother with the name of Ernest, which allows him to come up to town as often as he likes. On the other hand, Algernon confesses himself he has invented as well an invalid friend called Bunbury, in order to be able to go down into the country whenever he chooses.

Aunt Augusta and Gwendolen come. Jack engages to Gwendolen while Algernon keeps busy his aunt talking about the health of poor Mr. Bunbury. Afterwards, Lady Bracknell  inquires about Jack’s backgrounds, and she is informed that Jack does not know who were his authentic parents. He was found inside a hand-bag at Victoria Station, and he was given the name of Worthing because the gentleman who took the bag by mistake, had a ticket in his pocket for this location. After these inquiries, the engage is broken, and Gwendolen and Lady Bracknell leave the room. Then, Algernon asks Jack if Gwendolen knows he has a very pretty and young pupil called Cecily who is living in the countryside with him. Jack refuses to talk about the fact, and in this moment comes back Gwendolen. Jack gives her his address in Woolton meanwhile Algernon writes down it in his shirt-cuff.

 The second act happens at Manor House in Woolton. Cecily is taken her lessons with Miss Prism, the governess, who is in love with reverend Chasuble. Algernon comes pretending to be Ernest and Cecily tells him his brother Jack is in town. Next, Jack comes pretending that his brother Ernest has died in Paris. Cecily says to him that it is impossible because Ernest is there. Then, she forces her uncle Jack to reconcile with his brother.

In the next scene Algernon proposes Cecily to marry him and he is very surprised when Cecily tells him they have been engaged for the last three months, in spite of the fact that he had no notice at all. Algernon goes out and Gwendolen comes asking for Mr. Worthing. After a long talk with Cecily, they realize that they both are engaged with Ernest and, moreover, Ernest does not exist. They take offence by the fact they have been deceived, and decided not to speak with their fiancés until they christened with the name of Ernest.

 Third act: After a while, Gwendolen and Cecily change their mind and forgive Jack and Algernon. Following the reconciliation Lady Braknell arrives, who is very pleased with her nephew’s engage, but she does not give her consent to the marriage between Jack and her daughter. At that precise moment Miss Prism enters. Lady Braknell catches sight of her and asks where the baby is. Everybody looks astonished. Then,  Miss Prism makes a confession: At the time she worked at Lord Braknell’s house twenty-eight years ago, she was preparing to take the baby out as every morning, when she put the baby in a hand-bag instead of a manuscript of her work, and by mistake she left him in the cloakroom at Victoria station.

All of a sudden, Jack realizes he is the baby and asks Lady Braknell who he really is. Lady Braknell answers he is Algernon’s elder brother. So that, he had a brother, and besides his Christian name was Ernest after all.


- The Characters -