Jack Worthing
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Jack Worthing

The Importance of Being Earnest

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About Him

Grew Up… seemingly without relatives. As Jack puts it, “I said I had lost my parents; it would be nearer to the truth that my parents lost me.” As a baby, he was found in the cloakroom of a London railway station, placed inside a large leather handbag. Mr. Cardew, the man who stumbled upon him, charitably decided to adopt young Jack, giving him the surname “Worthing” after the destination on Mr. Cardew’s train ticket. Raised on Mr. Cardew’s Hertfordshire estate, Jack grew up in high society.
Living… hopping between London and the countryside. He lives in Woolton Manor, the estate he inherited from Mr. Cardew. Because he comes to the city for ‘matters of pleasure’ and stays in the country for business, Jack goes by "Ernest" while in the city.

Profession… professionally rich. Jack inherited a good deal of money from Mr. Cardew, but he also invested it wisely, taking in the tidy sum of 7000-8000 pounds a year from his investments. In his spare time – of which he has a great deal – he acts as guardian to Cecily Cardew, Mr. Cardew’s daughter, and oversees the care of Woolton Manor.

Interests… varied. Just as Jack has divided his city life from his identity in the country, he has neatly divided his business and his pleasure. In London he enjoys going for cocktails in private clubs or dining at the Savoy with his libertine friend, Algy Moncrieff – but in the countryside, his interests subside into the quiet reserve of a leisurely, yet serious, gentleman.

Relationship Status… as Ernest, courting Algy's cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax. A sophisticated young woman, Gwendolen returns his affections – though not so much out of attraction to Jack as out of attraction to the idea of being in love with an "Ernest."

Challenge… convincing Gwendolen’s mother to let him marry her daughter. Unfortunately, Lady Bracknell is an extremely prejudiced and strong-willed woman, with many requirements for a suitable husband – one of which is a family name. In order to marry Gwendolen, Jack must find his family – or something that passes for family. And then, of course, there’s this business of Gwendolen's obsession with the name “Ernest”...

Personality… fairly serious, somewhat timid, and often awkward. Jack gets tongue-tied easily and often struggles to find the words he’s looking for. While he knows how to have a good time, he takes things more seriously than the dandyish Algy: “How you can sit there eating muffins when we’re in this terrible trouble, I can't make out! It seems to me to be perfectly heartless!”

Jack Worthing's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #3360 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.

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