How do Cecily and Gwendolen from The Importance of Being Earnest compare and contrast?

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Gwendolen and Cecily seem to think they are vastly different, and they do have a few superficial differences. Mostly, the women are from different environment: Gwendolen lives in London, while Cecily has been raised in the country. The circumstances of their upbringings and educations are different (Gwendolen says her mother taught her to be "short-sighted," and Cecily has Miss Prism as a governess). Gwendolen sees herself as more sophisticated than Cecily, and she is certainly more experienced socially.

Despite these superficial differences, the women are actually very similar, and Wilde emphasizes this through repeating scenes in which the women act in basically the same manner, sometimes even saying the same lines. Both women claim to want to marry a man named Ernest, and this desire leads them to immediately "fall in love" with Jack and Algy, who both pretend to be named Ernest. When the women first meet, they become jealous of one another because they think they are engaged to the...

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