The main protagonist in this Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is Jack Worthing. I see Jack as a respectable young man with a polite manner. Although he was only found and adopted by a rich Mr. Cardew, he had grown up in an honorable family. Of course, Jack also adhered to Victorian values at that time, which were respectable and responsible. Jack has become a guardian to Mr. Cardew’s granddaughter, and I think, has been an honorable example for his community. These are others thought about Jack:
“Dear Uncle Jack is so very serious! Sometimes he is so serious that I think he cannot be quite well.” ~Cecily.
“I know no one who has a higher sense of duty and responsibility.” ~Miss Prism.
Although he has tried to fulfill the Victorian society expectations (about honor and respectability), Jack felt the responsible is unbearable that he needed something to balance his life. He hid himself in his fictional young brother Ernest Worthing’s role every time he needs to run away. On the contrary to his own qualities, Jack invented an irresponsible character of Ernest, who was pictured as evil by Cecily. This was the only negative side I found in Jack. I knew it was wrong, it was hypocrite, yet I could understand how distressing it might be for Jack to always be perfectly serious and responsible. Sometimes people need to be careless, to do whatever he wants, and don’t have to think about the consequences.
Other than that, Jack was a patient man. I can’t imagine how he could befriend with the reckless and immoral Algernon without hating him or loosing his temper—well he might have lost his temper once, but it did not bring him to break his friendship with Algy. I also found Jack to be a tender hearted man, for when he—in front of Algernon—said bad things upon Lady Bracknell who has insulted him, he apologized to Algy because he did not want to hurt his feelings.
Later when Gwendolen (his girlfriend) and Cecily knew the truth about the never-existed Ernest, Jack gallantly admitted that he had deceived them, that he never had any brother, and brave enough to take the risks (of losing Gwendolen’s love). And despite of his eagerness to take Gwendolen to become his wife, Jack spoke the truth about his rather humiliating history (being found in a handbag in a public place) to Lady Bracknell. He never felt ashamed of his life, and has the courage to take any risks, to be able to marry the girl he loved. That was the quality of a man which I always love!
If I can choose between the original Jack and Ernest, I would pick Jack. The real Jack who did not like the glamorous of Victorian social life like theatre or clubs; Jack who—although sometimes told lies (hey…don’t we all too?)—still had the courage to speak the truth when valuable and important things in life were the concerns.