The Image Of Jack Worthing In The Importance Of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde once said, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Lies are an easy way out but as a result, lead to harder problems. The truth for some people is never simple and is fabricated. Truth gets passed down through people and over time it fades. There is always another side to truth. In the play, The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Jack Worthing appears like a gentleman who loves Gwendolen, but he shows countless times that he is deceptive and lies about his alter ego to his closest friends, which makes him an unethical character.
To begin, Despite his care for Gwendolen he continuously is dishonest to her and her family about himself and his persona. Jack is perceived as a pathological liar, which is why he is one of the main protagonists in the story. Gwendolen confronts Jack about his inability, to tell the truth, due to his unethical ways. Also, he is not being honest about his real name and going by Earnest, which he is quick to dismiss to avoid the confrontation of his actions. The reason he changes his name to Earnest is to impress Gwendolyn the woman he wants to marry. Jack stated, “It is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind.”(56) This shows that telling the truth is painful for Jack, and Jack does not value honesty and the truth, especially to the people he cares about. He feels that lying is it a more efficient way of living, and chooses lies over honesty. Jack also makes hypocritical statements for his apologies that dictate his actions. Gwendolyn falls for him because of his charming nature, and his ability to manipulate her. “Jack says, Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?”(11). Jack and Gwendolyn have a relationship that’s formed on Jack’s lies, and his inability to be honest with her. Also his ability to recognize his ignorance to his mistakes and to own up to them. Jack’s incapability, to be honest, causes him to lose the trust of Gwendolyn and his closest friends.
Furthermore, Jacks is disingenuous and lies about his alter ego to his closest friends, and condescends the people he encounters. In the play, Jack is known to live two separate lives, which makes him seem two-faced. Jack even shows this by changing his name to Ernest or John depending on what town he is in. Jack is really trying to break from his life in the country. In the city, he tells everyone he is Earnest, which is a made-up person. Jack stated, “well my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country, my cigarette case was given to me in the country”(5). This shows that he uses multiple names to have a different reputation in different places, which is confusing for the other characters in the play and causes conflicts. Those different identities also are created in order to hide his doings and deceive their loved ones. Jack dishonesty is a sign of immaturity. When Jack’s lies are revealed to loved ones and his closest friends he doesn’t know what to do except argue as he had done with his younger brother Algernon. Jack says, “[Rising] Well, that is no reason why you should eat them all in that greedy way. [Takes muffins from Algernon.]… I say it’s perfectly heartless you’re eating muffins at all, under the circumstances”(477). This shows how Jack is acting like a child by arguing about a muffin with Algernon while being confronted by Gwendolyn and her family who learns the secret about Jack’s real name. Jacks deceitful nature and manipulate the situation about his two-faced life, causes him to patronize himself amongst his closest friends.
In conclusion, Jack Worthing in the play The Importance Of Being Earnest seems like a respectful man living in the Victorian era who wants to marry Gwendolen. However, Jack in really is a deceptive person who lies about his two-faced personas to his closest friends, which makes him an unethical character. Jack continuously is deceitful to the other characters about himself. Jacks is far from honest and he is not trustworthy to his closest friends and disguises himself behind the mask. Masking oneself with lies and deceit will only make one lose the trust of loved ones and prevent meaningful relationships. Digging oneself into to multiple white lies leads to fabricated lies. Deceitful behavior leads to broken promises, broken relationships, loneliness, and despair. All lies will eventually catch up with a person, it is only in living in the truth that someone will be happy, and have healthy relationships.
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