John Worthing: His friends in the city know him only as Ernest, but in the country John Worthing goes by Jack, which he believes is his real name. He does not know his personal history, only that he was discovered as a baby in a handbag in Victoria Station. He is in love with Gwendolen Fairfax and is the legal guardian of Cecily Cardew.
Algernon Moncrieff: Living in the city, Algernon Moncrieff is a good friend of Jack. At the beginning of the play he thinks that Jack’s name is Ernest. Algernon lives in a flat in a prestigious part of London. He is the nephew of Lady Bracknell and in love with Cecily Cardew.
Gwendolen Fairfax: The daughter of Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen Fairfax is in love with Jack but believes that she could not love him if he were named anything other than Ernest.
Cecily Cardew: Jack’s niece and ward, Cecily Cardew falls in love with Algernon when he visits her under the assumed name of Ernest, and she tells him that she could never love a man named anything but Ernest.
Lady Bracknell: The aunt of Algernon and the mother of Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell is a respected member of the English aristocracy. She refuses to allow her daughter to marry Jack because he does not have a suitable family history.
Dr. Chasuble: The rector of the Manor House, Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism flirt with one another throughout Act 2 and 3, and he is asked by both Jack and Algernon to re-christen them as Ernest.
Miss Prism: Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism is a woman with a mysterious past involving former employment at Lady Bracknell’s house, a missing novel, and a lost baby. She spends much of her time flirting with Dr. Chasuble.
Lane: Algernon’s manservant.
Merriman: The butler at the Manor House.