Short Summary of The Importance of Being Ernest: "The Importance of Being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde



"The Importance of Being Ernest", is a light comedy revealing the sentimentality of the fair as well as the hypocritical intricacies of the English aristocracy in an amusing yet thought provoking manner. The story is about two men who have double identities either to amuse themselves or to keep up their good name in one place while enjoying the life with another name in a different place. Mr. Jack has double identity and he is:

"Well, my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country"

whereas his friend, Algernon, has invented a Bunbury to rush out of the town whenever needed. However, we know that Jack is sincerely in love with Gwendolen:

"I am in love with Gwendolen. I have come up to town expressly to propose to her."

Since his lady-love is the cousin of Algernon; therefore, we find Gwendolen and her mother visiting the place. Here, Algernon creates the opportunity for Jack to propose Gwendolen. He does propose and she accepts his love only because:

"My ideal has always been to love some one of the name of Ernest. There is something in that name that inspires absolute confidence. The moment Algernon first mentioned to me that he had a friend called Ernest, I knew I was destined to love you."

Jack happens to mention about his beautiful ward, Cecily, before Algernon who gets interested in the girl. Algernon reaches the mansion of Jack while he is in town. Algernon meets Cecily under the name of Ernest, a fake younger brother of Jack who happens to be the ideal-notorious guy for Cecily. For names other than Ernest don't lure her.

Jack happens to return to his mansion and asks Algernon to go away but before leaving he meets Cecily and proposes her and she accepts his love. But she tells him that she cannot think marrying or loving anybody whose name is not Ernest.

While Algernon decides to baptize and change his name to Ernest and goes out, Gwendolen enters the house and meets Cecily. Here both fight considering they are in love with the same person named Ernest. But later realizing that both the men have befooled them they part with them temporarily only to reconcile later because they feel guilty and on the condition that they shall change their names to Ernest.

The story does not end here because now is the time for Lady Bracknell's entry. She is the mother of Gwendolen. She rebukes her daughter for being with Jack. She refuses the marriage Algernon with Cecily but as soon as Jack mentions the a huge sum of money in funds of Cecily, she agrees to the marriage. Amusingly, Jack, being guardian of Cecily, refuses to agree to the marriage unless Lady Bracknell agrees to the marriage between Jack and Gwendolen. She would not agree but all of a sudden she listen the name of Miss Prism, her old servant that was supposed to run with the elder brother of Algernon, Ernest. From the statement of Miss Prism it is proved that Jack is the lost baby.




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