The Importance of Being Earnest


Oscar Wilde

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on The Importance of Being Earnest makes teaching easy.
The Dandy Symbol Icon
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.
Get the entire The Importance of Being Earnest LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Importance of Being Earnest PDF

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
Hypocrisy, Folly, and Victorian Morality Theme Icon
Men and Women in Love Theme Icon
Algernon, dressed extravagantly like a dandy, greets his “little cousin” Cecily, who is excited to finally meet her “wicked cousin Ernest.”... (full context)