The Importance of Being Earnest Short Summary
This is a play by Oscar Wilde. The protagonist is named Jack Worthing, an important person in the community.
The Events of the Story
The play begins with Algernon (Algy) waiting for Lady Bracknell, his aunt, and Gwendolen, her daughter to visit. Before they get there, Jack Worthing, who is Algernon’s friend, arrives. Jack refers to himself as ‘Earnest’ which is curious to Algy. He reveals that his true name is Jack Worthing and his daughter is called Cecily.
Jack wants to propose to Gwendolen. He likes going by the name Earnest. Algy confesses that he has an imaginary friend called Bunbury and visits him every time he needs a break from the town. He is also a deceiver when necessary.
After the arrival of Gwendolen and Lady Bracknell, Algy excuses himself from the reception with the intentions of visiting Bunbury, his friend. Algy distracts his aunt while Jack is in another room proposing to Gwendolen. She accepts the proposal and further states that she loves the name Earnest as it sounds aristocratic. Lady Bracknell is not pleased with this proposal and corners and interrogates Worthing about his social status. She later rejects their engagement when it turns out that Jack does not have a similar social status. While she leaves, she tells Worthing to find parents who are of acceptable status. Jack does not know his birth parents. Gwendolen takes Jacks country’s address from Algy in secret. Algernon develops curiosity about Cecily and decides to go to the country.
In Jack’s country, Cecily is a student of Miss Prism. She gives praise to Jack in terms of being responsible and shuns Earnest for wickedness. Canon, a local vicar, gets romantic with Miss Prism. Algy arrives and pretends to be Earnest, the wicked brother of Jack so that he learns about Cecily even more. Cecily wants to marry a man named Earnest, according to her diary. This makes Algy consider rechristening like Worthing.
Gwendolen also arrives in the country and gets to meets Cecily. As they talk, they discover they are both engaged to Ernest Worthing. This leads to a battle. Algy and Jack arrive and separate the women. They then explain that they are both getting rechristened as Earnest, and these women agree to remain engaged.
Lady Bracknell allows the engagement of Algy and Cecily after seeing how much fortune Cecily had. She still has a problem with Jacks proposal to Gwendolyn. Jack hence says that he will not permit the engagement to Cecily unless he gets Gwendolen. The christenings are announced.
Lady Bracknell comes to hear of prism and calls for her. It is revealed that Prism was a governess who lost the nephew of Lady Bracknell 28 years earlier. When she asks about the boy, she learns that it was Jack. Jack was the older brother of Algernon and son to Ernest Moncrieff. Jack was now a real earnest.