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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Importance of Being Earnest published in 1990.).
Act 1, Part 1 Quotes
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
Act 1, Part 2
...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
Act 2, Part 2
...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)
...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