Oscar Wilde is a legendary author who has composed many great plays including The Green Carnation and A Woman of No Importance, however, The Importance of Being Earnest was undoubtedly the most famous of his works. First published in 1930, yet acknowledged since the late 1800s, The Importance of Being Earnest helped to revive the theater tradition of Congreve and Sheridan. The story is a comedic view of romance and the emphasis we place on seemingly trivial articles, such as a name. In this story, contrary to the typical saying, a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet.
Our first scene begins with a confrontation, and the whole story is a man versus confusing women (better known as society) conflict from there on out. Jack Worthing drops by the home of Algernon Moncreiff on a friendly call after being in the country all weekend. Algy is expecting company, his Aunt Augusta Bracknell and cousin Gwendolyn Fairfax. After announcing this to Jack, Jack states his intentions of proposal to Gwendolyn. The confrontation comes about when Algy produces a cigarette case belonging to his comrade, and is inscribed From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack. This invokes confusion because Algy has always known Jack to be a Mr. Ernest Worthing. At this, Jack explains that he is leading a double life as Jack Worthing in the country and Ernest Worthing in the city. In the country, Ernest Worthing is his fictional younger brother who is always getting into trouble, thus requiring him to make frequent trips to the city. This way, Ernest Worthing is also seen in town to further promote his existence and an excuse for departure.
Jack proposes to Gwendolyn, who also knows him as Ernest, yet Lady Bracknell vocalizes a slight disconsent. For one thing, Ernest is an orphan who was found in a handbag at the cloakroom of a train station, while Gwendolyns parents have strong family values. However, Jack and Gwendolyn decide to go on with the wedding. Jack must depart for the country, so he politely excuses his egression. Once in the country, Jack is surprised by the arrival of Algernon, acting as Ernest Worthing. Sensing trouble, Jack does his best to induce the exit of his younger brother but it is to no avail. Cecily, always wanting to marry a man by the name of Ernest, falls in love with Algernon immediately, and he proposes to her. To further complicate things, Gwendolyn arrives at the country home also, but before this is brought to the attention of Jack, she and Cecily have a brief meeting in the garden, which turns out to be the storys climax. During this encounter, both happen to mention that they are engaged to be married to Ernest Worthing. We must recall that to Gwendolyn, Ernest is actually Jack and to Cecily, Ernest is Algy. The girls are only bewildered and upset, so they decide to affront their fiancs.
Upon this confrontation, it is revealed that neither Jack nor Algy are Ernest Worthing. Instead of embracing this idea with relief that they are not in battle over the same man, the hopeful wives simply ask where the real Ernest Worthing is because they are both engaged to him, not anyone else. When it is announced that there is no Ernest Worthing, both girls rather haughtily disregard their men to pout over this horrible injustice. This leaves Algy and Jack feeling horribly dejected, so they sit for tea and discuss their possible options. It is decided that the only action that would bring about a resolution is if they are both christened as Ernest. At the occurrence of this declaration, Gwendolyn and Cecily are profoundly relieved and flattered that any man would go through such an ordeal to win their hands in marriage. During this whole encounter, Jack has acquired an understanding of Algy, which he is not too fond of. Since he is Cecilys legal guardian, with her future in mind, he refuses to give the consent that would allow her to marry Algernon. She is only eighteen and her fathers will declared that she would be of legal age to