The importance of being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

This play is divided in three acts:
Act I
The first act is settled in Algernon apartment. When Jack, known in London as Earnest, arrives Algernon informs him that his aunt Augusta and her daughter miss Gwendolen Fairfax are going to join them for a tea. While there are waiting for the two women to arrive Jack explains to Algernon that is real name is Jack and that he uses the name of Earnest just in London while when he’s home he uses Earnest as a fake brother in order to escape the boredom of the countryside. When Augusta and Gwendolen arrive Algernon takes his aunt in the other room to allow Jack, who is in love with Gwendolen, to propose. When he proposes Gwendolen accepts and tells him that she is in love with him too because she loves his name, a name so strong and reassuring like Earnest.

Act II
The second act takes place at Jack’s house where miss Prism is teaching German grammar to Cecily, Jack’s warden, when Dr. Chasuble arrives and invites miss Prism for a walk. While her teacher and the doctor are off walking, Cecily meets Algernon who, knowing about Jack’s lie, is pretending to be his guardian’s brother, Earnest. While Algernon, who wants to marry Cecily, is trying to conquer the girl’s love Jack makes his way into the house dressed in mourning holding the ashes of his fake and now dead brother. When he meets whit Algernon, whose name now is Earnest all is plans break into pieces. Meanwhile Gwendolen arrives to Jack’s house and meets Cecily. The two women discover the lies Algernon and Jack have been telling them and start ignoring the two men.
The third and last act takes place in Jack’s house where he and Algernon are trying to win the women sympathy back. When they finally succeed by telling their women they are going to be christened and take the name of Earnest. At the same time Lady Bracknell walks into the room and tells them they could never be married because Jack’s parent are unknown since he was found in a bag at the station and Cecily is not a good enough match for Algernon. While leaving the house Lady Bracknell recognizes miss Prism and tells the story of how the woman had left Lord Bracknell’s house with the son of the deceased Mrs. Moncrieff, Algernon’s elder brother, and she had left the baby into a bag at the station. When Jack produces the bag it is proven to all of them that he is that baby and that now he is a perfect match to marry Gwendolen. As for Algernon and Cecily, when Aunt Augusta finds out about the dowry of a hundred and thirty thousand pounds she gives her consent to the marriage.

Characters descriptions

Jack is a very serious person but he needs sometimes to take a break from is normal life and go having fun and relaxing in the worldly like of London even if that costs him a lie.

Algernon is a romantic person always trying to enjoy life in all his aspects and gives a lot of importance to beauty.
Gwendolen loves to be sure and safe. That’s why she like the name Earnest, because it communicates strength and sureness.
Cecily is a dreaming person. She likes to wonder in fantasy and is charmed by wickedness because she thinks is her job to cure it.
Miss Prism
Miss Prism is a dreaming person as Cecily but she tries to hide it beneath a layer of reason and rules that she must follow.
Lady Bracknell
Lady Bracknell is a very self-confident person who believes in the structure of society as a universal value and wants to gain the best from its rules.

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