Study Guide

The Importance of Being Earnest Three Act Plot Analysis

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Three Act Plot Analysis

Act I

Jack’s second identity is revealed to fellow Bunburyist, Algernon. Jack's name isn’t really Ernest. But Jack’s lack of parents makes it impossible for him to marry his beloved, Gwendolen. Lady Bracknell is stubborn like that. Still, Jack won't let his ladylove get away.

Act II

Algernon impersonates Ernest to woo Cecily. It works. Especially since he’s named Ernest. Algernon’s arrival embarrasses Jack, who's trying to explain his deception. When Gwendolen arrives, the truth is revealed: there is no Ernest and the men were just pretending. The women are angry and give them the silent treatment.


Since Jack and Algernon only lied out of love, Gwendolen and Cecily forgive them. But Lady Bracknell is a party-pooper. The only sign of hope comes with the discovery of Miss Prism’s dark secret. She was the one who orphaned Jack. Jack is really Algernon’s brother! And the Army Lists shows that Jack’s real name is... Ernest.

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