"Is your real name Ernest or Jack?" "Yes."

In the play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, deception performs a role more important than anyone else. The plot revolves around the character Jack lying about his identity to his friends in the city, and his friend Algernon lying about his identity to Jack's family in the country.

In total, everyone is a filthy liar in this story.


The title of the play is actually quite a clever joke, as it refers to being honest and how the only attention Jack gets is when he is in the identity of Ernest.

In the end of the play, through a number of shenanigans that weirded out anyone who had the "pleasure" to witness them, Jack finds out that his real name is Ernest and his middle name is Jack, thus actually being earnest the whole time.

The significance of being earnest is that the main two girls of the story, Gwendolen and Cecily, are only courted by honesty. Once they find out Jack and Algernon weren't being honest, they attempt to avoid them, and are only courted when they both admit their faults and become completely truthful.

Overall, being earnest is actually a very important thing. Go figure.


Jack's false identity of Ernest could easily be found out because he made Ernest someone close to him, a brother. When a bunburyist makes an identity that is too closely linked to his main one, he runs a greater risk of being found out.

Algernon thought this through and made his identity untraceable back to him. Who's gonna look for a guy named Bunbury? No one. No one except Algernon. And Algernon knows Bunbury actually doesn't exist, so he covered his tracks.

Clearly Algernon is #1.

But what is the importance of being trivial? Simple: it's to appreciate the little things.

Both Jack and Algernon make their individual identities to live among the lower class of people if they so chose to live that way. They feel unimportant when they live like that. They feel trivial.

Boom. Next question.


Despite one of the characters creating reality, she does not actually have superpowers.

Cecily is the perpetrator of not being earnest about having superpowers. But hear me out on this one.

By being engaged to a fictional character (Ernest), Cecily is living in an alternate reality! Crazy! On the outside, Cecily is a normal girl who lives a boring life and just desires to be wed. But in her diary, she's created her own little perfect world, where she's happily married and always having a thrilling adventure.

Through the same shenanigans described earlier, she comes to be engaged to "Ernest", who is actually Algernon impersonating a fictional character created by Jack! Double crazy! When does the craziness end? Spoiler: it doesn't.

Pictured above: how crazy this story gets.

We're not here to talk about plot though, we're here to talk about Cecily. Cecily takes real life events and spins them into her own fantasy in her diary.

In this way, she's capable of keeping the two worlds separate, unlike Thing 1 (Jack) and Thing 2 (Algernon).


Comment Stream