Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
Setting is a key element in this play because it offers a guise for the main character’s alias. This adds to the hilarity that develops from misunderstandings both intended and accidental. The primary settings are in the city: London, England, and in the country: Hertfordshire, England.
Act I: Algernon Moncrieff’s flat in Half-Moon Street
Act II: The Garden at the Manor House, Woolton
Act III: Drawing room of the Manor House, Woolton. The time period is the 1890s.
John Worthing, J.P.
Known as Jack in the country, Ernest in the city. He escapes country life by pretending to have a brother, Ernest, who continuously gets into trouble in the city and requires his assistance. He is the guardian of Cecily and wants to marry Gwendolen, but is not allowed to because her mother does not approve of his being found as an infant in Victoria Station.
Algernon in the city, Ernest in the country. Algernon is the cousin of Gwendolen and wants to marry Cecily. He claims to have an ill friend, Bunbury, whom he visits in the country when he wants to escape the city.
Rev. Canon Chasuble D.D.
Chasuble is the pedantic reverend who resides in the country near Jack. He is in love with Miss Prism.
Gwendolen’s mother and Algernon’s aunt. She refuses to allow the marriage of Gwendolen and Jack.
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax
Daughter of Lady Bracknell. She wishes to marry Jack, whom she believes is “Ernest.”
Ward of Jack. She wishes to marry Algernon, whom she believes is Jack’s younger brother “Ernest.”
The governess of Cecily. She once wrote a novel, but never published it. She is involved in a very important mishap.