The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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How are Jack and Algernon similar to and different from each other in The Importance of Being Earnest?

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Although they do not discover the relationship until the end of the play, Jack is Algernon's older brother. The relationship between the two much aligns with this. Jack is, at least ostensibly, more serious and responsible, though he has developed the persona of Ernest to allow himself an outlet for his wilder side. Even though Algernon is only acquainted with this persona (since Jack is Ernest in town and Jack in the country, and he invariably sees Algernon in town), Jack is still the more serious of the two, while Algernon is flippant and witty:

Algernon: You don’t seem to realise, that in married life three is company and two is none.

Jack: [Sententiously.] That, my dear young friend, is the theory that the corrupt French Drama has been propounding for the last fifty years.

Algernon: Yes; and that the happy English home has proved in half the time.

The great similarity between the two, however, becomes clear in their pursuit of Gwendolen and Cecily. They both accept exactly the same...

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