The Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde
Jack Worthing Timeline and Summary
- Jack-as-Ernest visits Algernon.
- After the cigarette case fiasco, Ernest reveals that Cecily is his ward. He explains why he is Jack in the country and Ernest in the city.
- Jack learns about Algernon’s Bunburying.
- During an afternoon tea visit, Jack proposes to Gwendolen.
- Jack is interrupted and interrogated by Lady Bracknell.
- After being refused by Lady Bracknell, Jack plans to kill off Ernest.
- Jack gives Gwendolen his country address, which Algernon cleverly jots down.
- After killing off Ernest, Jack returns to the Manor House, dressed in mourning. He explains that his brother, Ernest, died of a "severe chill."
- Jack is shocked when he discovers that his brother, Ernest, is alive and well, and at the country house. Jack soon discovers that the Ernest who arrived is really Algernon.
- Jack arranges for his "brother" to leave.
- Jack comes out to greet Gwendolen.
- Jack's and Algernon’s deceit is revealed to the two girls, who seek refuge in the house.
- Left to themselves, Jack and Algernon fight over muffins.
- The two men finally enter the house to find their loves. Jack and Algernon reveal that they only lied out of love for the girls. They are immediately forgiven.
- Jack receives a visit from Lady Bracknell.
- Jack reveals Cecily’s inheritance, much to Lady Bracknell’s interest.
- Jack refuses to give consent for Cecily to marry Algernon unless Lady Bracknell allows him to marry Gwendolen.
- Jack hears Miss Prism’s story, and begins to suspect that Miss Prism knows where he comes from.
- Jack finds the handbag in his chambers.
- Jack first believes that Miss Prism is his mother.
- Jack discovers from Lady Bracknell that he is Algernon’s older brother.
- Jack looks in the Army Lists to find his true Christian name. He discovers his name is Ernest.
- Jack hugs Gwendolen joyfully, knowing they can finally be married.
- Jack tells Lady Bracknell he has learned "the vital Importance of Being Earnest."