The Importance of Being Earnest – Cecily Cardew

If Gwendolen is a product of London high society,
Cecily is its antithesis. She is a child of nature, as ingenuous
and unspoiled as a pink rose, to which Algernon compares her in
Act II. However, her ingenuity is belied by her fascination with
wickedness. She is obsessed with the name Ernest just as Gwendolen
is, but wickedness is primarily what leads her to fall in love with
“Uncle Jack’s brother,” whose reputation is wayward enough to intrigue
her. Like Algernon and Jack, she is a fantasist. She has invented
her romance with Ernest and elaborated it with as much artistry
and enthusiasm as the men have their spurious obligations and secret identities.
Though she does not have an alter-ego as vivid or developed as Bunbury
or Ernest, her claim that she and Algernon/Ernest are already engaged
is rooted in the fantasy world she’s created around Ernest. Cecily
is probably the most realistically drawn character in the play,
and she is the only character who does not speak in epigrams. Her
charm lies in her idiosyncratic cast of mind and her imaginative
capacity, qualities that derive from Wilde’s notion of life as a
work of art. These elements of her personality make her a perfect
mate for Algernon.