The Importance of Being Earnest

Bunbury Symbol Icon
Bunbury is a fictional invalid that Algernon makes up so that he has a ready excuse whenever he wishes to get out of any social commitment, particularly when he would like to escape to the country. Algernon describes this pretext as “bunburying,” but he also uses the term to describe Jack’s false representation of himself as “Ernest” and his own masquerade as “Ernest.” Bunbury and “bunburying” thus represent deception, fiction, and escapism.

Bunbury Quotes in The Importance of Being Earnest

The The Importance of Being Earnest quotes below all refer to the symbol of Bunbury. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Importance of Being Earnest published in 1990.
Act 1, Part 1 Quotes

I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go down into the country whenever I choose.

Related Characters: Algernon Moncrieff (speaker)
Related Symbols: Town and Country, Bunbury
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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Bunbury Symbol Timeline in The Importance of Being Earnest

The timeline below shows where the symbol Bunbury appears in The Importance of Being Earnest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Part 1
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
Name and Identity Theme Icon
Jack’s confession confirms Algernon’s suspicion that his friend is a practiced “Bunburyist.” Algernon demands to know why Jack goes by one name in town and the other... (full context)
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
Name and Identity Theme Icon
Hypocrisy, Folly, and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
Algernon reveals that he has also invented an invalid friend named “Bunbury,” whose maladies are a ready excuse for Algernon whenever he chooses to go into the... (full context)
Act 1, Part 2
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
Hypocrisy, Folly, and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
...on Saturday. He tells her he will not be able to attend on account of “Bunbury.” Lady Bracknell wishes that “Bunbury” would just choose to live or die, but Algernon distracts... (full context)
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
Hypocrisy, Folly, and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
...Gwendolen out to her carriage and Algernon informs Lane that he will be going out “Bunburying” tomorrow. Jack returns and Algernon comments that he is “anxious” about his friend “Bunbury.” Jack... (full context)
Act 2, Part 1
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
Name and Identity Theme Icon
Hypocrisy, Folly, and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
...here at the estate and has been telling her a great deal about his friend “Bunbury.” (full context)
Act 2, Part 2
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
Name and Identity Theme Icon
...country estate, masquerading as “Ernest” and shocked that he has been talking to Cecily about “Bunbury.” At Cecily’s prompting, Jack begrudgingly shakes Algernon’s hand. Miss Prism, Dr. Chasuble and Cecily leave... (full context)
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
The Pursuit of Marriage Theme Icon
Name and Identity Theme Icon
Men and Women in Love Theme Icon
...they have ruined their chances of getting married, Algernon and Jack argue about their failed “Bunburying” schemes, which prohibit them from further excursions in town or country. They also debate about... (full context)
Act 3, Part 1
The Art of Deception: Fact v. Fiction Theme Icon
...on the scene, Lady Bracknell asks him if this is the residence of his friend “Bunbury.” Forgetting that he had told his aunt that he would be at his ailing friend’s... (full context)