When you compare the two works of Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray and The

Importance of Being Earnest, we realize certain similarities in the writing. The Portrait of

Dorian Gray, is a story about a young man who is very influential. Dorian Gray listens to Lord

Henry Wotton when he is upset and needs advice on what direction he needs to take. That

quality leads to His downfall ultimately his death. The play, The Importance of Being Earnest, is

a story about The development of Jack's personality. At first he is not as far developed as

Algernon, but soon Catches up and finds the love of his life Gwendolen Fairfax. Both the

characters and the plot are Developed/advanced though the suggestions of other significance

members of the story.


Lady Bracknell is the most influential character in The Importance of Being Earnest. She

Is both higher in social status and obviously older. She has more wisdom and is therefore is able

To give good advice to Jack about his engagement. Most of her questions/conversations begin in

A personal matter. When characters do not have certain responses to her questions, are given

Short harsh answers, or she uses her education to simply bore them until the subject has

changed. Acting as Gwendolen's mother, When in a discussion about Jack's possible

engagement she makes it clear that he will not continue in the engagement with her daughter

until he can prove that his parents are alive. "you can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell

would dream of allowing our own daughter- a girl brought up with the most care - to marry into

a cloakroom, and from an alliance with a parcel?" (P.21).


Basil begins painting the picture, but does not tell anyone about it, including Dorian,

because he knows that there is too much of himself in it. Lord Henry discovers the painting and

asks Basil why he will not display it. Lord Henry thinks that it is so beautiful it should be

displayed in a museum. Basil argues that the reason he will not display the painting is because

he is "afraid that [he] has shown in it the secret of his soul" (P.23). This is another paradox

because he has not only shown the secret of his soul, but the painting eventually comes to show

the secret of Dorian's soul also. Basil realizes that he has not concealed himself in the painting

and therefore feels the painting is not worth anything. After Lord Henry sees the painting, he

asks to meet Dorian. Basil says that would not be good because his "influence would be bad" (P.

31). Basil is correct in saying this because Lord Henry is the main person who helps Dorian to

destroy himself. Lord Henry disregards Basil's request and meets Dorian anyway. This is the

beginning of the end for both Dorian and Basil because Lord Henry's influence pollutes Dorian.

Lord Henry taunts Dorian and continues to remind him of all the sin that is building up and that

even though his body is not aging, he convinces him that his soul is deteriorating fast.


When the plot develops the main point of conflict is that neither man is really named

Earnest, a name both women insist on as the only acceptable name for a husband. Jack and

Algernon both volunteer to be christened with that name. Which makes Gwendolen and Cecily

very happy. Lady Bracknell arrives, having followed her daughter Gwendolen to prevent

mischief. Cecily is introduced to her as Algernon's fiancÚ, but Lady Bracknell rejects the

engagement until she hears that Cecily is "heiress" to Algernon's fortune. Lady Bracknell

continues to objecting to Jack's marriage to Gwendolen the ground that he does not have a true

family. Jack, out of revenge claims that he then does not want Cecily to marry Algernon. During

the argument Miss Prism comes in. By the wildest of coincidence, Miss Prism turns out to be the

absent-minded nurse who had misplaced Jack as an infant, putting the manuscript for her novel

in the baby carriage and the baby into her handbag, which she left in the railway station. As it

turns out, Jack is the nephew of Lady Bracknell and Algernon's brother. Therefore, he does have

a good family