Beginning – Hypocrisy
(Ex)- The beginning of this play exemplifies hypocrisy in the Victorian Era. And it could be assumed that the two gentlemen who are being depicted in these beginning scenes are viewed as the epitome of vile for the Victorian Age. The two of whom I speak, Algernon Moncrieff, and John “Ernest” Worthing openly admit to the double lives that they live to get away from the people whom they claim to love. Mr. Worthing created a younger brother “Earnest” in order to escape to London and Mr. Moncrieff created “Bunburying” to escape his boring Aunt’s family dinners. The two speak as if they aren’t truly connected with the world around them; valuing personal entertainment over loved ones while portraying to the world that they are honest, faithful men.
Quote- “You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to town as often as you like. I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, ...view middle of the document...
Algernon, being a devious genius takes the identity of Earnest with ease after being told everything about him from John seemed to be in complete control of the situation as well. Until Algernon posing as Earnest (of course) fell in love with Cecily. This added dynamic puts both characters into similar traps, and equally they become more and more bound to each other’s lies. Ironically, Algernon’s subtle insult to Jack so much sweeter because it now appears he is a fool as well.
Quote- “Jack. I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left. Algernon. We have. Jack. I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about? Algernon. The fools? Oh! about the clever people, of course. Jack. What fools!”
(Ex)- Upon finding out about their engagement to the same fictional Earnest, both women (Cecily/Gwendolen) were quite taken aback and left promptly. And.. like normal human beings being deceived for a great period of time the two women quite nonchalantly forgive the two practiced deceivers / satire. The two both decide upon the name Earnest as being their true name in the eyes of Christ (but in reality they are more interested in appealing to the ladies). But for not, because as chance would have it the true Christian name of Jack was Earnest all along yet never told to him by Aunt Augusta.
The ending shows a stark change from the beginning of the poem. Where the beginning had been about deceit and cleverness, the ending changes towards the redeeming qualities that being truthful to those around you has. The punishment that they faced was the embarrassment of letting go of their lies and symbolically conforming to their newer Victorianesque selves.
Quote- “Gwendolen. Ernest! My own Ernest! I felt from the first that you could have no other name!
Jack. Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?
Gwendolen. I can. For I feel that you are sure to change.
Jack. My own one!”