The dandy, or fop, was a figure popularized by Wilde. In Wilde’s world, the dandy is a man who pays particular attention to his appearance, dress, and lifestyle, almost to the point of excess, while using his wit and charm to point out society’s hypocrisy and double standards. Algernon and Jack are examples of this figure. When Algernon dresses up as “Ernest” and when Jack dresses up in mourning clothes, these instances show the affected, flamboyant, and extravagant nature of the dandy. In The Importance of Being Earnest, the dandy, as represented by Algernon and Jack, symbolizes self-indulgence, as well as the revelation of truth.
The Dandy Symbol Timeline in The Importance of Being Earnest
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Dandy appears in The Importance of Being Earnest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Part 1