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