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Jack Worthing, as the Image of Englishman of Victorian Epoch, in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Essay

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Updated: May 12th, 2020

Introduction

The Importance of Being Earnest is the famous play by Oscar Wilde, an outstanding English play-writer. The play was highly appreciated by the public and reviewers. Due to its involved plot and a good sense of humor, the play continues to attract a numerous audience at the theatres all over the world.

The aim of this essay is to analyze Jack Worthing, one of the main characters of the play, which the author represented as the typical wealthy Englishman of Victorian epoch.

The Fabricated Story

John Worthing is the young wealthy gentleman, the owner of a big country mansion. We first meet Jack, as his friends call him, at the London apartment of Algernon Moncrieff, Jack’s best friend. Both friends tired of their ordinary life and created the stories about themselves. Algernon says to Jack,

“You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to town as often as you like. I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go down into the country whenever I choose” (Wilde n.pag.).

Jack and Gwendolen

At the time when the friends are talking how the things are and sneering at their life, Lady Braknell and Gwendolen, her beautiful daughter, enter the room. Jack and Gwendolen are in love with each other. However, she does not know his real story. Besides, she has always said that her dream is to marry a man named Ernest (Wilde n.pag.).

Algernon says that the way Jack flirts with Gwendolen is “perfectly disgraceful and that it is almost as bad as the way Gwendolen flirts with him” (Wilde n.pag.). However, the fabricated story prevents Jack’s intention to marry Gwendolen. Lady Bracknell said that she will not give her daughter in marriage to someone without a family.

Jack and Lady Bracknell

Probably, the discussion of Lady Bracknell and Jack is one of the most interesting and amusing episodes in the play. From this discussion, we get to know that Jack is twenty-nine years old; he has “a country house with some land, attached to it, about fifteen hundred acres” and that he lost his parents and does not know a lot about them (Wilde n.pag.). Lady Bracknell also asked him about his political convictions.

“Lady Bracknell. What are your politics?

Jack. Well, I am afraid I really have none. I am a Liberal Unionist

Lady Bracknell. Oh, they count as Tories. They dine with us. Or come in the evening, at any rate. ”(Wilde n.pag.).

At the end of the play, the true stories of Jack and Algernon uncover. Nevertheless, Gwendolen agree to marry Jack. Incidentally, it turns out that Jack’s real name is John Ernest. The name was given to him after his father who he had never known.

The Main Traits of the Character

Witness, respectability and quick mind are the brightest traits of Jack’s character. Despite the conventionalities, Jack shows his good sense of humor and independent outlook. Although he created the false story about himself, he is hardly described as a dishonest man. We know from his dialogue with Lady Bracknell that he does not hide his views, though they are not in his favor sometimes. The idea to create a fabricated story about his life rather shows his desire to take a rest from the conventionalities of the haut monde.

Conclusion

In order to sum up all above mentioned, it should be said that Jack Worthing is one of the main characters of The Importance of Being Earnest play by Oscar Wilde. He represents the typical Englishman of upper social class of the Victorian epoch; his witness and cleverness make him one of the brightest male characters in Oscar Wilde’s drama. The independence of views characterizes him as a man not used to the conventionalities of the his time.

Works Cited

Wilde, Oscar 2006, . Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Jack Worthing, as the Image of Englishman of Victorian Epoch, in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde'. 12 May.

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