Full Book Summary The Importance of Being Earnest A Trivial Comedy for Serious People
Jack Worthing, the play’s protagonist, is an integral part of the Hertfordshire community. He is responsible for looking out for the welfare of Cecily Cardew, the stunning eighteen-year-old granddaughter of Thomas Cardew. She found and adopted Jack as a baby. In Hertfordshire, Jack has responsibilities: a landowner and magistrate, with tenant farmers, tenant farmers and various servants and other employees reporting to him. He also pretended to have an irresponsible black sheep-like brother named Ernest. He leads a scandalous, pleasure-seeking life and keeps getting into trouble, forcing Jack to rush to his aid sinisterly. Jack uses Ernest as an alibi—a ghost that lets him vanish for many days and do anything he wants—so that he can get away with murder. Nobody but Jack knows that he is Ernest himself. Ernest is the name given to Jack in London, where he goes on these occasions, presumably to pursue the same type of behaviour he is said to disapprove of in his imaginary brother.
Jack loves Gwendolen Fairfax, his best friend Algernon Moncrieff’s cousin. The play opens with Algernon, who calls Jack Ernest, becoming suspicious after discovering a note written to “Uncle Jack” from “little Cecily” in Jack’s cigarette case. Algernon associates Jack with having a twofold existence, a training he thinks about typical and vital for present-day life. A man living a double life, he dubs the “Bunburyist,” named after a supposedly nonexistent friend, a chronic invalid named Bunbury, at whose deathbed he is summoned whenever he wants to free himself from an irksome social obligation.
Jack surprises Algernon at the start of Act I by telling him he’s going to propose to Gwendolen. Algernon confronts him about the cigarette case and forces him to tell the truth, demanding to know who “Jack” and “Cecily” are. Jack admits that his name isn’t Ernest and that Cecily is his ward, an obligation given to him by his receptive dad’s will. Jack likewise educates Algernon regarding his imaginary sibling. Jack says he thought about killing that fake brother because Cecily cares too much about him. Jack unwittingly draws Algernon’s attention to Cecily by describing her in a way that piques his curiosity.
Gwendolen and her mother, Lady Bracknell, arrive and allow Jack to propose to Gwendolen. Jack is pleased to see Gwendolen return his affections but is alarmed to learn that Gwendolen is obsessed with Ernest’s name, which she says “inspires absolute confidence”. Gwendolen clarifies that she would not consider marrying a man named not Ernest.
The purpose of Lady Bracknell’s interview with Jack is to determine whether or not he would be suitable as a son-in-law, and so she inquires into his family tree. At the point when Jack makes sense that he has no clue about who his folks were and that the one who embraced him found him in a sack in Victoria Station’s cloakroom, Lady Bracknell is stunned. She forbids Jack and Gwendolen from fighting and then leaves the house.
In Act II, Algernon appears at Jack’s estate posing as Jack’s brother Ernest. Meanwhile, after deciding that Ernest has outlived his usefulness, Jack returns home in deep sorrow, filled with a story about Ernest’s sudden death in Paris. He is furious to find Algernon dressed as Ernest but has to accept the masquerade. Failure to do so will expose your lies and deceptions.
Algernon, who is hopelessly in love with Cecily, proposes to her as Jack removes his black mourning clothing. He’s shocked that Cecily believes she’s as of now drawn in and is glad when she uncovers that her interest in “Uncle Jack’s sibling” drove her to bring forth an intricate sentiment among her and him a couple of months prior. Algernon is less than thrilled when he learns that part of Cecily’s interest in him stems from Ernest’s name, which he subconsciously tells Gwendolen “inspires absolute confidence”.
Algernon searches for Doctor Chasuble, the local rector, to ensure he is christened Ernest. Meanwhile, Gwendolen arrives, who has decided to pay Jack an unexpected visit. Cecily orders tea and attempts to play hostess while she and Gwendolen sit in the garden. While Cecily is clueless about Gwendolen’s role in Jack’s life, Gwendolen is equally in the dark about Cecily’s existence.. Gwendolen initially thinks that Cecily is a visitor to the mansion and is surprised to learn that Cecily is “Mr, and indeed that she is engaged to Ernest Worthing. Gwendolen points out that this is impossible because she is engaged to Ernest Worthing herself. The tea party degenerates into a moral war.
Jack and Algernon reach the climax of this confrontation, each of them having trouble with Dr Chasuble making separate arrangements to be baptized Ernest later that day. Each girl points out that the other has been cheated on: Cecily informs Gwendolen that her fiancé’s real name is Jack, and Gwendolen tells Cecily that his real name is Algernon. The two women want to know the whereabouts of Jack’s brother Ernest since they are both engaged. Jack must accept the fact that he is an only child and that his brother Ernest does not exist.. The two women are shocked and angry and retreat into the house arm in arm.
Act III takes place in the mansion hall where Cecily and Gwendolen have retired. When Jack and Algernon come in from the garden, they are confronted by the two women. Cecily asks Algernon why he claims to be her guardian’s brother. Algernon tells her he did it to meet her. Gwendolen inquires whether he claimed to have a sibling go to London to consider her frequently as could be expected, and she deciphers his equivocal response as affirmation. The ladies are a little calmer yet, at the same time, worried about the name issue. Notwithstanding, when Jack and Algernon let Gwendolen and Cecily know they consented to be sanctified through water Ernest that evening, everything is pardoned, and the two sweethearts embrace. At that point, the appearance of Lady Bracknell is reported.
Lady Bracknell followed Gwendolen from London and bribed Gwendolen’s maids to reveal her fate. She wants to know what’s going on. Gwendolen again illuminates Lady Bracknell regarding her commitment to Jack, and Lady Bracknell repeats that an understanding is impossible. Algernon tells Lady Bracknell about his engagement with Cecily. He prompts her to check Cecily out and ask her about her social connections, which she routinely and condescendingly does, infuriating Jack. He answers all of her questions with a mixture of politeness and sarcasm. He withholds the information until the last moment that Cecily is worth a lot of money and will inherit even more when she comes of age. That’s what Lady Bracknell is interested in.
Jack informs Lady Bracknell that he refuses to consent to her union with Algernon as Cecily’s legal guardian. Lady Bracknell speculates that the two young men are waiting for Cecily to come of age, but Jack explains that, under her grandfather’s will, Cecily will not legally be considered an adult until she reaches the age of 35. Woman Bracknell requests that Jack reevaluate, and he demonstrates that the matter is altogether in his grasp. Cecily can seek her consent to wed Algernon when she agrees to her union with Gwendolen. However, Lady Bracknell refuses to consider the idea. When Dr Chasuble arrives, she and Gwendolen are about to leave and mentions Cecily’s housekeeper, Miss Prism. Lady Bracknell is surprised at this and asks that Miss Prism be summoned.
The governess comes and gives Lady Bracknell a guilty, sneaky look. Lady Bracknell accuses him of leaving her sister’s house twenty-eight years ago with a baby and never returning. You will know where the baby is. Miss Prism concedes she doesn’t have the foggiest idea and makes sense that she lost the child since she absentmindedly put it in a sack where she would put the original copy of a clever she had composed. Jack asks what befell the pack, and Miss Prism says she left it in a storage space at the train station. Jack squeezes her for additional subtleties and takes off from the scene, returning minutes after the fact with an enormous sack. At the point when Miss Prism affirms that the load is hers, Jack rushes at her, hollering, “Mother!” It gets some margin to determine what is going on. Still, we soon learn that Jack is not Miss Prism’s illegitimate son but the legitimate son of Lady Bracknell’s sister and Amit Algernon’s older brother. Also, Jack has originally christened “Ernest John”. For years, Jack has been telling the truth: Ernest is his name, just like Jack, and he has a ruthless younger brother: Algernon. The couple kiss again, Miss Prism and Dr Chasuble do the same, and Jack admits he now understands “how important it is to be called Ernest.”