A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance

by Oscar Wilde

A house party is in full swing at Lady Hunstanton's country home, when it is announced that Gerald Arbuthnot has been appointed secretary to the sophisticated, witty Lord Illingworth.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Classics
  • Rating: 3.88
  • Pages: 96
  • Publish Date: April 1st 1996 by Penguin Books
  • Isbn10: 0140622454
  • Isbn13: 9780140622454

What People Think about "A Woman of No Importance"

Oscar Wilde excelled in writing light and witty, drawing room satires, plays containing line after line such as these. Both authors lived partly during the Victorian era, when women had very few rights compared with men, and this is often highlighted in the plays of George Bernard Shaw, but not so often in Oscar Wildes. We are on familiar territory: the drawing rooms and gardens of the rich and powerful, where Lord, Ladies, and occasionally members of the clergy meet to socialise and gossip about their contemporaries. One of the people Lady Caroline denigrates is a young clerk, called Gerald Arbuthnot, but young Hester Worsley objects, defending him. Right on cue, Gerald Arbuthnot eagerly bursts in to inform the party that he has been made Lord Illingworths secretary. The ladies quickly switch their focus, thanking him for hiring Gerald Arbuthnot, but Lord Illingworth mysteriously says that he had had a personal interest in hiring the young man. There is an enjoyable lengthy scene between Lord Illingworth and a Mrs. Allonby, an equally quick-witted woman, who defies his overwhelming vanity. In his outrageous arrogance and flirtatiousness, Lord Illingworth claims he has such power over women, that he has never met a woman who could resist his advances. Lord Illingworth sees the reply by letter from Mrs. Arbuthnot lying on the table, and clearly recognises the handwriting. (view spoiler)Gerald is the illegitimate child of Mrs. Arbuthnot and Lord Illingworth, who had once been known as George Harford. As George Harford, Lord Illingworth had refused to marry the woman carrying his child.

Men marry because they are tired women because they are curious.

I enjoyed this play from beginning to end. List of quotes: LADY STUTFIELD. Oh, dont say that, Lady Stutfield. LADY STUTFIELD. Do you really, really think, Lady Caroline, that one should believe evil of every one? I think it is much safer to do so, Lady Stutfield. What do you call a bad man? the sort of woman a man never gets tired of. I dont think that we should ever be spoken of as other peoples property. All men are married womens property. That is the only true definition of what married womens property really is. P.S.: Just as a side note, most of those quotes were said by Lord Illingworth, the cynic of the play, and the causer of mischievances.

ALLONBY: What a througly bad man you must be! LORD ILLINGWORTH: What do you call a bad man? ALLONBY: The sort of man who admires innocence. ALLONBY: Men always want to be a woman's first love.

Anyway, this delightful little play is Wildes way of poking fun at the upper class of English society, but then again this is something that he seems to regularly do with his works. Actually, come to think of it, single mothers these days also get dumped on pretty heavily as well. The problem is that the poor woman is a single mother, which means that in part she is an outcast, and as the title of the play suggests, the father really doesnt care about her. In a way nothing has changed single mothers are ridiculed and considered to be a burden on society. No, the difference here is that Wilde makes us sympathise with the woman, while we turn our nose up at the male, who in the end we consider to be of no importance.

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories, and one novel.