How does the playwrite Oscar Wilde present the relationship between Jack and Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest?

1 Answer | Add Yours

tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the beginning of the play, Jack and Algernon seem to have known each other as friends for some time. They speak to each other sarcastically and say things that suggest that they have known each other a while. For example, in Act I, Algernon asks if it is seven, or time to go to dinner. Jack says, "Oh! it always is nearly seven," referring to Algernon's continual need to eat. Algy explains that he is hungry and Jack says, "I never knew you when you weren't," (, eText, pg. 25). This dialogue suggests that they have known each other for a long time, but how they met is never addressed. As far as their personal friendship is concerned, however, the two men seem to be slightly disrespectful towards one another due to their differences of opinion on life, marriage, and responsibility. Jack is more conservative than Algy is, for instance, and it tends to give way to "clever" remarks and off-handed put downs between them. In the end, the two men discover that they are brothers and the relationship seems to be solidified and more understandable at the same time.


We’ve answered 317,651 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question