The Duality Of Jack Worthing Essay

921 WordsFeb 29, 20124 Pages
How is the duality of Jack Worthing important to the play and audience? Jack Worthing (officially called John) could be said to be the main character of The Importance of Being Earnest, not because he has the most lines or the most time on stage (he has a lot, but still the same amount as others, like Algernon), but because of the question of who he really is. Jack is split into two personae and appears a different man to each of the other characters. For instance, there is Cecily (Jack’s ward) to whom Jack appears to be the very pinnacle of respectability and the embodiment of Victorian values. However, for Algernon, Cecily’s suitor and Jack’s close friend, Jack Worthing is like any other young gentleman in London: self-satisfying and living solely for himself. The audience gets to see both these aspects of Jack, but does his duality actually matter to the play and to the audience? Who truly is Jack? Firstly, the duality aspects give a neat progression to Jack, and interest the audience by showing his development throughout the play. Due to numerous circumstances, the secure confidence that Jack has of knowing who he is (Jack Worthing, orphan) is shattered to a disequilibrium. These circumstances include Aunt Augusta’s demand that he should “make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex” in order to be considered for marrying Gwendolen, and Gwendolen’s casual, yet vital remark that “my ideal has always been to love someone of the name of Ernest”. From these two pivotal conversations, Jack now has tasks to perform in order to restore peace and harmony again. If he wants to marry Gwendolen, he must either forget the countryside and live in the city, or tell her the truth about his real name, and risk losing her affections. While doing this, he must find out who he was born as, for Aunt Augusta, and probably lose both his

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