The Importance Of Being Ernest By Oscar Wilde Essay

2427 Words Oct 18th, 2016 10 Pages
In Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest, each character has a distinct alter ego that they wear at some point during the play. Authorities on Wilde 's play have described Bunburying as “the confusion and then the restoration of identities” (Craft 23). The first introduced is called Bunbury. After this first instance of role-playing, the name Bunbury, or the term Bunburying comes to apply primarily to the two male leads throughout the rest of the play, and to equate to a false identity. The protagonist, Jack, Bunburys as his troublesome younger brother Ernest, so that he can experience a life in town as well as one in the country. Algernon, his friend, Bunburys as the original character, Bunbury the invalid, whom he uses to escape uncomfortable situations like dinner parties, stating something along the lines of, “Bunbury is very ill again,” or “I’m a little anxious about poor Bunbury” (Wilde 9, 18). Algernon also Bunburys as Jack’s younger brother Ernest later on in the play. Both men perform like actors in a play. From these examples, the term “Bunburying” is most frequently associated with role-playing. As Algernon explains to Jack, “You have invented a very useful younger brother called Ernest, in order that you may be able to come up to town as often as you like. I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go down into the country whenever I chose” (6). Throughout the play, Algernon applies a loose set of rules…

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