Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
The Main character and protagonist of this play is John Worthing (known as Jack in the city). He is the main character because he responsible to the major plot developments; most action revolves around him: the conflict is his; the main setting of the play occurs at his home; the plot becomes complicated when his pursuits are jeopardized, and the plot is not finally resolved until his interests are settled.
He is a man of mysterious background: he was found at Victoria Station as an infant, in a hand-bag. He now cares for the grand-daughter of his deceased patron. To escape the monotony of country life, and to have fun and be himself, he creates a fictitious brother, “Ernest.” who is always getting into trouble. Therefore, he is able to go to the city whenever he likes. In the city, he is known as Ernest. This becomes complicated when he falls in love with Gwendolen, whom he cannot marry because her aristocratic mother does not approve of his background. Furthermore, she could not love him if his name were anything but Ernest.
When Gwendolen appears at his country house, Jack is discovered as a phony. However, he is forgiven and taken back by Gwendolen. At the end of the play he discovers that he is who he was pretending to be all along. He was misplaced at Victoria Station by Miss Prism (now the governess of his ward) when he was a baby. He is really a man named Ernest, and really is the brother of Algernon. He and Gwendolen are allowed to marry.