The Importance of Being Earnest Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Algernon Moncrieff.

Algernon is a droll, educated man in his late twenties or early thirties. He is perpetually hungry, and he will give any excuse - real or false - to avoid spending time with his relatives. He puts on airs of detachment and cynicism, but at heart he is a romantic.

2. How does Jack Worthing's cigarette case betray his identity to Algernon?

Jack Worthing leaves his cigarette case at Algernon's lodging, but Algernon does not know it is his. The case is a gift from Jack's ward, Cecily, and its engraving mentions his real name. At the beginning of the play, Algernon knows Jack only by his town name of Earnest. When Jack claims the cigarette case, he must admit to the ruse.

3. Who is Bunbury?

Bunbury is an imaginary person of Algernon's creation. As Algernon has told his relatives, Bunbury is an invalid friend who is always on the edge of death. As such, Bunbury is a perfect excuse for Algernon to get out of London when he has an appointment he does not want to keep.

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