Character of Algernon in The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde



Algernon, an intelligent and clever youth, is the representative of English aristocratic class. He is vain, proud, mischievous, careless and carries all the errors of what we may attribute to this class at that time. He is leading a double life by having a "Bunbury" in country to whom he must pay the visit whenever he is no inclined to attend the family or friends. This "Bunbury", a sort of escape from the troublesome daily boring routines of life, is a fake friend whose health is never well.

"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. "

Algernon is fond of music and very particular about his dressing and appearance. He does seem well to do personality; however, towards the end of the play, his aunt lady Bracknell reveals the fact that he is always under debt. This exposes him to further criticism and censure. All his life is about moving about and enjoying the life he has. He does not take things seriously except the matter of Cecily in whose love he has been more than crazy:

"Cecily, ever since I first looked upon your wonderful and incomparable beauty, I have dared to love you wildly, passionately, devotedly, hopelessly."

Algernon's exquisite feature is his habit of eating; he cannot refrain from eating no matter what sort of situation he is in. We find him eating while Jack is in his house. Algernon does not allow Jack to touch the cucumber sandwiches especially prepared for his aunt but himself finishes the same sandwiches before the arrival of his aunt. Algernon is found eating muffins while the other three are extremely tense due to the name of Ernest and the relationship of the two couples.



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