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Quotes for
Jack Worthing (Character)
from The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

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The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
Jack: I don't actually know who I am by birth. I was... well, I was found.
Lady Bracknell: Found?
Jack: Yes. The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentlemen of a kindly disposition found me and gave me the name of Worthing because he happened to have a first class ticket to Worthing at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It's a seaside resort.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this charitable gentlemen with the first class ticket to the seaside resort find you?
Jack: In a handbag.
Lady Bracknell: [closes eyes briefly] A handbag?
Jack: Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a hand bag. A somewhat large... black... leather handbag with handles... to it.
[pause]
Lady Bracknell: An ordinary handbag.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this Mr. James... or, Thomas Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?
Jack: The cloak room at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own...
Lady Bracknell: [Shocked] The cloak room at Victoria Station?
Jack: Yes. The Brighton line.
Lady Bracknell: The line is immaterial.
[begins tearing up notes]
Lady Bracknell: Mr. Worthing. I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?

[while Algy is pretending to be Jack's brother]
Jack: [whispering] Algy! Algy! Algy!
[Algy looks around, as if wondering who Jack's calling]
Jack: Ernest.
Algy: Ah, good morning, dear fellow.

Lady Bracknell: You seem to be displaying signs of triviality.
Jack: On the contrary, Aunt Augusta. I've now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Ernest.

Jack: Lady Bracknell, I hate to seem inquisitive, but would you kindly inform me who I am?

[in the end credits]
Jack: Algy, you're always talking nonsense.
Algy: It's better than listening to it.

Jack: Good heavens, I suppose a man may eat his own muffins in his own garden.
Algy: But you have just said it was perfectly heartless to eat muffins!
Jack: I said it was perfectly heartless of YOU under the circumstances. That is a very different thing.
Algy: That may be, but the muffins are the same!

Jack: How you can sit there eating muffins when we're in this terrible trouble, I can't make out! It seems to me to be perfectly heartless...
Algy: I can hardly eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs.

[over the end credits, Algy and Jack rehearse their song to win back their girls]
Jack: I think your high notes may have damaged our chances, old boy. You do want them to come down, don't you?
Algy: Well, they're never going to come down while you're singing like that, you're completely out of tune.
Jack: How dare you.
Algy: I'll take this next bit.
Jack: You leave this one to me, you go and have a lie-down.
Algy: I'm doing it.
Jack: Move out of my way, I'm coming through.
Algy: Go easy, my dear fellow...
Jack: [singing] COME DO-O-O-O-WN, LADY COME DOWN...
Algy: Overdoing it, less is more.

[Jack tells Lady Bracknell his address in London]
Lady Bracknell: The unfashionable side. I thought there was something.
[she reaches for the bell, but reconsiders and pulls back]
Lady Bracknell: However, that could easily be altered.
Jack: Do you mean the fashion, or the side?
Lady Bracknell: Well, both, if necessary, I presume!

Jack: Then a passionate celibacy is all that any of us can look forward to.

Jack: You don't think there's any chance of Gwendolyn becoming like her mother in about 150 years, do you Algy?
Algy: My dear fellow, all women become like their mothers, that's their tragedy. No man does, and that's his.

Lady Bracknell: I have always been of the opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing. Which do you know?
Jack: I know nothing, Lady Bracknell.
Lady Bracknell: I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a very delicate exotic fruit. Touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor's Square.

Lady Bracknell: Do you smoke?
Jack: Well, Lady Bracknell, I am bound to say, yes, I do smoke.
Lady Bracknell: That is well. A man should always have an occupation.

Jack: I'll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister.
Algy: Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.

Jack: I said I had lost my parents; it would be nearer to the truth that my parents lost me.


The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)
Lady Bracknell: Are your parents living?
Jack Worthing: I have lost both my parents.
Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

Lady Bracknell: Do you smoke?
Jack Worthing: Well yes, I must admit I smoke.
Lady Bracknell: I'm glad to hear it. A man should have an occupation of some kind.

Jack Worthing: Algy, you don't suppose that Gwendolyn will become like her mother - in about one hundred and fifty years, do you?
Algernon Moncrieff: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.

Jack Worthing: You are quite perfect Miss Fairfax.
Gwendolyn Fairfax: Oh I hope I am not that. It would leave no room for developments, and I intend to develop in many directions.

Jack Worthing: Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?

Jack Worthing: I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we still had a few fools left.
Algernon Moncreiff: We have.
Jack Worthing: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about?
Algernon Moncreiff: The fools? Oh, about the clever people, of course.
Jack Worthing: What fools!

Lady Bracknell: I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over.
Jack Worthing: Well, I don't see how I could possibly manage to do that, Lady Bracknell. I can produce the hand-bag at any moment. It is in my dressing-room at home. I really think that should satisfy you, Lady Bracknell.
Lady Bracknell: Me, sir! What has it to do with me? You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter - a girl brought up with the utmost care - to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel? Good morning, Mr. Worthing!


Importance of Being Earnest: East Meets West (????)
Jack Worthing: Actually, I was found... in a handbag... an ordinary handbag.