Character Sketch of Gwendolen Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest

Gwendolen Fairfax is a pretty young girl who lives with her mother, Lady Bracknell. At the very beginning of the play, it becomes clear that she is in love with Mr. Worthing. But the main reason of her love for him is neither his richness nor his handsomeness but it is his name Ernest. Surprisingly, she was very much fascinated by this name. Though Jack Worthing tries to explain the fact about his name, she was not ready to listen to him. On the contrary, she announces her decision of marrying only that a man whose name was Ernest. That is why Jack Worthing decides to rechristen him as Ernest.

Gwendolen was under the influence of the imposing personality of her mother. Her general behaviour shows that she had adopted the manners and tendencies of high class society. Her mother always tries to impose her own views on Gwendolen. Though she had chosen her husband, it seems to be impossible for her to get married with him unless her mother gives her consent. It is seen from the fact that when Lady Bracknell comes to know about her daughter’s love for Jack, she interrogates him thoroughly in order to find out his suitability. And when she comes to know that Jack was an orphan, she declared him to be unfit for Gwendolen. However, Gwendolen tries to come out of her mother’s influence by telling Jack that she would certainly marry him. To fulfill her wish, she gets Jack’s country address and visits him all alone.

After reaching Jack’s country house, she meets Cecily there. Initially, she behaves in cordial and friendly manner with Cecily. But when she comes to know that Cecily is Jack’s ward, her womanly jealousy is also seen in Gwendolen. And when she mistakenly thinks that both Cecily and she are in love with one and the same person, named Ernest, she fights with Cecily. But it has to be taken into consideration that Gwendolen had also the ability to forgive. Though she fights with Cecily, within a short span of time, she settles her differences with her and becomes her close friend. Similarly, she also forgives Jack for his deceptive ways and accepts him as her husband. This nature of Gwendolen makes the audience sure about her happy married life with Jack.

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