Character Analysis - the Importance of Being Earnest (Algernon Mo...

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Character Analysis - the Importance of Being Earnest (Algernon Moncrief)

By | Jan. 2012
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Algernon Moncrief in Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" is quite simply a child at play. Algy, as he's known to his friends, is a young bachelor not yet in his thirties living the aristocratic life of a Victorian gentleman. He has an underdeveloped sense of morality and of the world beyond him. Algy has an excellent skill for wit and as an "Oxonian", his education is also rather noticeable. You might also surmise him to be unhappy if he were eating muffins as if there was no tomorrow, and he doesn't seem fond of sharing his cucumber sandwiches in any case. He expresses indifference to everything that fails to give him a moment's amusement as he refers to his manservant's short marriage, "I don't know that I am much interested in your family life". Bills would likely pile in his flat in London on Half Moon Street, if he didn't tear them up. Responsibility isn't in his vocabulary, and he certainly doesn't place very much importance on being earnest.

John (Jack) Worthing is Algy's best friend and is quite serious about everything that Algy takes for granted. Although they do share a mutual fondness for a particular past time called "Bunburying" that involves the creation of a fictional double in the form of a brother or friend. The point of which to allow them to easily create excuses to travel as they like. Additionally Algy enjoys using his "Bunbury" character to avoid dinner with his aunt Lady Bracknell. He believes once a week is enough time to spend with relatives. While Jack utilizes his "Bunbury" character, ironically named Earnest, to see Algy's first cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax.

In the first act of the play, Algy was curious about an inscription in a cigarette case that Jack had left behind. The inscription read "From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack". Up to this moment, Algy had only known Jack only by the name Ernest, but now Algy discovers Jack's own "Bunburying". Not seemingly fazed, as Algy seemed more...
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