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A Woman of No Importance

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Oscar Wilde's audacious drama of social scandal centres around the revelation of Mrs Arbuthnot's long-concealed secret. 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. Gerald's mother stands in the way of his appointment, but fears to tell him why, for who will believe Lord Illingworth to be a man of no importance?

96 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1893

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About the author

Oscar Wilde

6,494 books33k followers
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories, and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain, and died in poverty.

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Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,227 reviews1,062 followers
March 1, 2023
“One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.”

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

“To get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people - that is all!”

“We in the House of Lords are never in touch with public opinion. That makes us a civilised body.”

Even if you have never come across these particular quotations before, you might be likely to guess correctly at their author. Oscar Wilde excelled in writing light and witty, drawing room satires, plays containing line after line such as these. However, his 1893 play A Woman of No Importance, is a curious mix of this type he wrote so well, and a more serious and bitter condemnation of social mores, which we would more readily expect from his contemporary fellow Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw. 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 Wilde’s. With this play, Oscar Wilde too has decided to explore some of the double standards of the end of the nineteenth century.

However at the start of A Woman of No Importance, this is not yet apparent. 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.
We are ready for drolleries and sizzling satire; we are ready for Oscar Wilde’s wickedly unkind put-downs, and we are not disappointed:

“The happiness of a married man depends on the people he has not married.”

“Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.”

“Talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you, and at the end of your first season you will have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact.”

“My dear young lady, there was a great deal of truth; I dare say, in what you said, and you looked very pretty while you said it, which is much more important.”

The First Act is set on the terrace at Hunstanton Chase. As the play opens, we meet Lady Caroline Pontefract on the garden terrace. A party is being held, and the privileged upper class guests are exchanging social gossip and small talk. Lady Caroline Pontefract enthusiastically holds forth, giving her opinion on everyone and everything in her social milieu. We become aware very quickly, that not only is she wealthy and a member of the aristocracy, but that she holds everyone else in disdain, and enjoys holding court and displaying her power to her own advantage.

Lady Caroline Pontefract, along with Lady Jane Hunstanton, is ostensibly welcoming Hester Worsley, a wealthy young American who is visiting England for the first time, but in fact she is using all her effort to criticise and make those around her feel as small and worthless as possible. She is certainly providing many amusing lines for the audience to appreciate. However the play is not really about her.

One of the people Lady Caroline denigrates is a young clerk, called Gerald Arbuthnot, but young Hester Worsley objects, defending him. This young American woman is remarkably direct and confident, compared with the English young ladies of her time and class. The audience sits up. We believe her straightforwardness, and as a consequence are interested to see this young man for ourselves.

Right on cue, Gerald Arbuthnot eagerly bursts in to inform the party that he has been made Lord Illingworth’s secretary. Lord Illingworth, we learn, is a powerful politician. This is exciting news for Gerald, affording him many prospects, as being Lord Illingworth’s secretary would potentially be his first step to a financially and politically successful life. Lady Hunstanton, unlike Lady Caroline, is pleased for Gerald and sends a letter through her footman inviting his mother to join their party at the estate. Mrs. Arbuthnot is highly regarded and has a great reputation in the community. The two young people, Gerald and Hester, leave the scene to go for a walk.

Lady Hunstanton and Lady Stutfield have been prompted by events to discuss Lord Illingworth’s ambitions to be a foreign ambassador, and they go on to gossip and criticise his immorality towards women, when Lord Illingworth himself proceeds to enter the terrace. 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.

We quickly deduce from his behaviour, that Lord Illingworth is unscrupulous and unprincipled. He is exceedingly flirtatious and cruel, using his power much in the way that Lady Caroline uses hers. He excels at witty bon mots, and is one of Oscar Wilde’s most watchable anti-heroes. 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. Mrs. Allonby therefore challenges him to make Hester Worsley, whom we have learned by now is eighteen and a Puritan, fall in love with him.

The First Act ends with a letter being received from Mrs. Arbuthnot, to say that she will arrive at the party after dinner. Lord Illingworth sees the reply by letter from Mrs. Arbuthnot lying on the table, and clearly recognises the handwriting. Evidently appalled, his reaction prompts Mrs. Allonby to ask curiously who she is, whereupon he dismissively replies, “A woman of no importance.”

The Second Act is set in the drawing room of the Hunstanton estate. Hester Worsley has been holding her own against the opinionated ladies in the party. They clearly find her honesty amusing and naïve, and according to their personalities, are either trying to be kind and direct her towards the accepted English way to behave in society, or maliciously mocking her. Hester is gradually disliking these ladies more and more, and becoming very contemptuous of their dissembling. The play is changing in tone, and we are aware that it is becoming far more serious. We are rapidly losing the wit of the drawing room comedy.

When Gerald’s mother, Mrs. Arbuthnot, enters, we learn an extraordinary and unexpected fact.

The scene becomes even more emotionally charged when Mrs. Arbuthnot begs him to leave her son alone, saying that Gerald is all she has,

“George don’t take my son away from me. I have had twenty years of sorrow, and I have had only one thing to love me, only one thing to love. You have had a life of joy, and pleasure, and success.”

Lord Illingworth callously refuses, saying that Gerald should be able to choose his own future. When Gerald enters, Lord Illingworth reiterates that he is immensely pleased with his choice, and that Gerald has the highest qualities that he had hoped for in a secretary. Mrs. Arbuthnot now begs her son not to take the advantageous position he has been offered, but refuses to reveal why. Gerald can see no reason to refuse this opportunity, and furthermore is very irritated with his mother’s seemingly inexplicable dislike of Lord Illingworth. Lord Illingworth pushes his advantage home, demanding that she explain to both of them, any possible reason she might have to protest against this golden opportunity for her son. Mrs. Arbuthnot is defeated. Mrs. Arbuthnot, greatly troubled, says that she has no other reason. The play has now become a savage indictment of the double standards of Victorian morality.

Act Three takes place in the Hall at Hunstanton Chase. Lord Illingworth is victorious. We watch as he maliciously uses Gerald’s confiding in him to his own despicable advantage. Gerald evidently trusts his future employer, and seeks his advice about his mother. He says how much he admires her and wishes to protect her. He expresses to Lord Illingworth what a great woman she is, and wonders aloud why she has never told him of his father. Lord Illingworth uses this as an opportunity to promote his cynical views that even “great women” have limitations which inhibit the natural desires of young men. Lord Illingworth boastfully points out that he has never been married, and holds forth about society and morality, promising that he will introduce Gerald to new opportunities, and by implication a promiscuous and exciting new life. We see, through his depiction, that Victorian men were forgiven for their moral indiscretions, whereas society would thoroughly condemn women for similar actions, which would inevitable be judged and condemned as moral failings.

When the other guests enter, Lord Illingworth capitalises on his success, entertaining them (and us) with his outrageous and shocking views on society. By now the audience loathes this man, yet in common with the company he is lecturing, we hold a secret admiration for his wit. Mrs. Arbuthnot says she would be sorry to hold such appalling views,

Gerald still clearly admires Lord Illingworth, and fully intends to go to India with him at the end of the month, despite his mother’s earlier pleas. Mrs. Arbuthnot, left alone with Hester, tries to rekindle the previous conversation about the position of women. It seems as though she is attempting to sound out Hester’s views. Indeed, Hester has very strong opinions about the double standards employed towards the men who unthinkingly impregnate women, and can then deny all knowledge, and the women who are then scorned and condemned by society. However, she does not believe that women are free of blame, roundly condemning both,

“It is right that they should be punished, but don’t let them be the only ones to suffer. If a man and woman have sinned, let them both go forth into the desert to love or loathe each other there. Let them both be branded. Set a mark, if you wish, on each, but don’t punish the one and let the other go free. Don’t have one law for men and another for women.”

The scene ends inconclusively, with Gerald taking his mother home, and Hester leaving on her own.

Act Four, the Final Act, has a very subdued feel. Gone is the bright sparkle of the play’s witty opening scene; gone is the drama of unfolding events. It takes place in the sitting room in Mrs. Arbuthnot’s house in Wrockley. Gerald is writing a letter

A Woman of No Importance is a strange meld that does not quite work. It starts as a comedy of society: a social drawing room satire, with the familiar types of epigrams, such as,

“The youth of America is their oldest tradition”

and aphorisms such as,

“Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed”

“Duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does oneself”

and paraprosdokians, such as,

“It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one’s back that are absolutely and entirely true.”

This deliciously wicked type of disingenuous writing is what we associate most with Oscar Wilde. Increasingly however, this play becomes more about the dark side of the Victorian era: a time of great moral hypocrisy where double standards were the norm. The “Poor Law” of the 19th century in Great Britain, included a “Bastardy Clause”, which made illegitimate children the sole responsibility of their mothers until they were 16 years old. If mothers of such children were unable to support themselves and their offspring, they would have to enter the workhouse. The fathers of such children had no responsibility in Law. The reasoning behind this, was the idea that this law would teach women to be more moral. Our modern sympathies are more inclined to rest with the abandoned women who have been left destitute.

Yet the most appealing characters by far are those who embody this hypocrisy: Lord Illingworth and, to a lesser extent, Lady Caroline. It is they who provide our most enjoyable entertainment. Sadly, the characters in the play with whom we have most sympathy, who are upstanding, truthful and just, come across as boring and dull. Hester Worsley is one of the strongest characters in the play, and it is her voice which echoes Oscar Wilde’s own opinions and indictments against some of the attitudes of his day.

“You love the beauty that you can see and touch and handle, the beauty that you can destroy, and do destroy, but of the unseen beauty of life, of the unseen beauty of a higher life, you know nothing. You lost life’s secret.”

“You shut out from your society the gentle and the good. You laugh at the simple and the pure. living, as you all do, on other and by them, you need at self-sacrifice, and if you throw bread to the poor, it is merely to keep them quiet for a season.”

“You are unjust to women in England. And till you count what is a a shame in a woman to be an infamy in a man, you will always be unjust, and Right, that pillar of fire, and Wrong, that pillar of cloud, will be made dim to your eyes, or be not seen at all, or if seen, not regarded.”

Worthy she may be, passionate she certainly is, but neither she nor Mrs. Arbuthnot are at all appealing. Neither is Gerald Arbuthnot; he is merely weak. Even the drollery and waspishness of the minor characters is more enjoyable to watch than Hester’s droning moral monologues.

In a play which is clearly intended to be persuasive, it is a mistake to make the immoral anti-hero quite so witty, intelligent and charming. Perhaps Oscar Wilde could not resist the temptation. But what this ends up as is a competition in dialogue between Lord Henry Wotton’s wit in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and the earnest missionary zeal of Barbara Undershaft in George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara”. Sadly it loses focus, and falls between the two.

Interestingly Oscar Wilde reworked some of the dialogue from this one in his later plays. For instance, in one scene, Lord Illingworth and Mrs. Allonby share the line,

“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy.”
“No man does. That is his.”

The character of Algernon was to make the same remark in the incomparable “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Perhaps, after all, Oscar Wilde himself thought of this as a lesser play, and one which had not quite succeeded as he would have wished.
Profile Image for Sawsan.
1,001 reviews
July 6, 2022
مسرحية للكاتب الأيرلندي الشهير أوسكار وايلد نشرت عام 1894
صورة للطبقة الثرية في المجتمع الانجليزي في القرن التاسع عشر
يعرض وايلد من خلالها بعض ظواهر, ما زالت موجودة في العصر الحالي
عالم المال والمُتع والحفلات, الأفكار الفارغة والثرثرة عن الفضائح
نظرة الاستعلاء التي ينظر بها الأثرياء المُرفهين للطبقات الفقيرة
والأهم المعايير المزدوجة في الحكم على الرجل والمرأة في حالة العلاقة غير الشرعية
فتتحمل المرأة وحدها المسئولية الأخلاقية والإدانة المجتمعية
Profile Image for فايز غازي Fayez Ghazi .
Author 2 books3,596 followers
May 2, 2023
- مسرحية انطباعية، ساخرة وناقدة بشكل لاذع للطبقة المخملية في انكلترة إبّان المرحلة الفكتورية.

- المسرحية على اربعة فصول، تشكل 24 ساعة من حياة اشخاصها لكنها تستعيد من الماضي القصة او العقدة الأساسية، تحرّكها في الحاضر محاولةً رسم المستقبل بين اناس قديسين واناس آثمين!

- المسرحية تعقد الكثير من المقابلات: العهد القديم/العهد الجديد، الغنى/الفقر، العبودية/التحرر، العمق/السطحية، القداسة/الإثم، الحق/الباطل،... وعلى هذه التناقضات ينسج اوسكار وايلد سخريته ونقده لتلك المرحلة او لتلك الطبقة المسطحة البرجوازية. الحوارات التي نسجها كانت جيدة جداً، غنية، واسعة ومضحكة في العديد من الأماكن!

- النهاية افلاطونية، فالمسرحية انتصرت للحق، للمحبة وللعزة. والحديث الذي ابتدأ بـ "امرأة بلا اهمية" انتهى بـ "رجل بلا اهمية".

اكثر الإقتباسات عمقاً، برأيي، كان:

"الفرق الوحيد بين القديس والأثيم هو ان كل قديس لديه ماضٍ، اما كل أثيم فله مستقبل"

ملاحظة: لا تقرأوا مقدمة المترجم لأنه يلخّص المسرحية ويحرق "دين" الأحداث لسبب لا زلت اجهله!!!!
Profile Image for Francesc.
391 reviews192 followers
June 1, 2022
Obra de teatro. Crítica a la sociedad inglesa de la época. Con ironía, Wilde critica la falta de moralidad, la frivolidad y el aburguesamiento de las clases altas.

El inicio es un poco lento, pero hay un hecho que desencadena la situación y la lectura coge mucho ritmo.

Tiene pasajes verdaderamente brillantes, propios del genio de Oscar Wilde.

Play. Criticism of the English society of the time. With irony, Wilde criticizes the lack of morality, frivolity, and gentrification of the upper classes.

The beginning is a bit slow, but there is a fact that triggers the situation and the reading gets very fast.

It has truly brilliant passages, typical of the genius of Oscar Wilde.
Profile Image for Loretta.
305 reviews157 followers
May 5, 2020
It was really hard for me to get into this play. Not sure if it's because of the pandemic but initially I found that there were too many "bit" characters to keep track of. Realized, after getting into the play and focusing more on the play, that the many characters weren't really "that" important. Oh, they did add to the play, to show how snobby they were but really the main characters, Miss Hestor Worsley, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Lord Illingworth and Gerald Arbuthnot are the play.

Very enjoyable! Four stars!
Profile Image for Piyangie.
518 reviews412 followers
November 22, 2021
A Woman of No Importance is yet another drawing-room play by Oscar Wilde, where he satirizes the morals, hypocritical conventions, and general views and conduct of Victorian upper-class society. Oscar Wilde was fiercely critical of the hypocrisy of the upper-class social norms and created some celebrated drawing-room plays to show the shallowness of the noble and rich. In this play, however, while keeping to his general social satire, Wilde has based his theme on social and legal injustice regarding dishonoured women and illegitimate children. It is quite shocking how the law and society of his day put the blame on women for their dishonour while overlooking the fact that a man's deception also has contributed towards the act. While the trusting woman was punished and suffered, the man who deceived and forsook her was pardoned and free. It is said that this social and legal position was upheld to deter women from committing sin, but one can see its falsity right through. It is the men creating laws and social rules for their protection and to the detriment of women. And this sensitive theme is what Oscar Wilde exposes through the story of Mrs. Arbuthnot, "a woman of no importance".

The story was quite touching. And we can feel Wilde's sympathy for "fallen women". I greatly enjoyed how Wilde turned the tables to show that, after all, it is the notorious Lord Illingworth who is not the important one and not Mrs. Arbuthnot. However, the story, though very moving, had to be pulled out from the rest of the social commentary. The two went their separate ways although thinly connected by the characters. This lack of interconnection was felt strongly in the opening Acts, making them slow-moving. And the lackluster tone doesn't help either. The crucial turn at the end of the second Act got the story moving, yet the overall vibrancy, which is so characteristic of Wilde's drawing-room plays, was lacking here. There is enough wit and satire, of course, to keep the reader entertained. But the preachy undertone, which was quite uncharacteristic of him, was tedious. In most of his drawing-room plays, Wilde has maintained his characteristic exuberance even though the subject matter is grave. But in this play, it was to some extent replaced by a somber ambiance.

Nevertheless, this is Oscar Wilde we are talking about, one of the wittiest playwrights of classical literature. So, one cannot find too many faults in a work of art by such a genius. All remarks here are made comparatively. And in this comparative light, A Woman of No Importance is perhaps the weakest drawing-room play by Oscar Wilde.
Profile Image for Katie Lumsden.
Author 1 book2,804 followers
October 19, 2019
I absolutely love this play. So compelling, witty and nuanced - I love the social criticism and the ending. Such a great play.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
April 1, 2022
I needed a laugh so of course one of the people I turn to is Oscar Wilde, one of the wittiest writers ever, in the caustic social critic tradition of Moliere. But I also read one of Raymond Chandler’s witty and funny Phillip Marlowe novels, and I would love to be a fly on the wall during a conversation between Chandler and Wilde. Both masterful at the clever bon mot, the caustic aphoristic social observation.

Our characters include Miss Hestor Worsley, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Lord Illingworth and Gerald Arbuthnot. Here’s some repartee for ya:
Lord Illingworth: The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life.
Mrs. Allonby: And the body is born young and grows old. That is life's tragedy.

“I don't know how to talk.”
“Oh! talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you, and at the end of your first season you will have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact.”

Lord Illingworth: What do you think she'd do if I kissed her?
Mrs. Allonby: Either marry you, or strike you across the face with her glove. What would you do if she struck you across the face with her glove?
Lord Illingworth: Fall in love with her, probably.

“. . . an orchid there as beautiful as the seven deadly sins.”

“One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.”

“Duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does oneself.”

“It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.”

“Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.”

I am told that this earlier play of Wilde has historically been produced less than his later plays, and one reason for this may be that it is actually less fluffy than things like The Importance of Being Earnest (as delightful as that play is). As with Moliere, there is a kind of feminist turn in the play from a woman dismissed as one “of not importance” to conclude with the man who uttered that phrase about her, her ex, dismissed as “a man of no importance.” I liked it a lot.
Profile Image for Melcat.
250 reviews25 followers
October 15, 2021
I am usually not really into plays but Wilde always manages to make theatre very entertaining for me. I hope that one day I will have the chance to see a live performance of some of his plays.

I highly recommend the Oscar Wilde’s BBC radio collection on Audible, the quality is great, I had a great time listening to Wilde’s works and I will listen to this Audiobook again which doesn’t happen very often.

Not much to say about the plot of this one, it’s Wilde, you know what you��re getting yourself into, but I am still amazed by how much I enjoy each of his writings. I wonder if he expected to be so successful so long after his tragic end.
Profile Image for Nashwa نشوى .
69 reviews4 followers
August 8, 2019
رائعة رائعة رائعة بكل ما تحتويه الكلمة من معنى

لم أكن أظن يوماً أني سأحب المسرحيات حيث ضيق مساحة الخيال, ولكن هذه المسرحية كانت بداية موفقة جداً لهوايتها

بداية اقتبس من مقدمة الكتاب وصف كتابات أوسكار وايلد الذي بدا أكثر إنصافاً مما قد اكتبه يوماً
"أدبه رفيع وأسلوبه مثالي من حيث روعة الحبكة, ودقة الصنع, ومتانة اللغة مع ذكاء لامع وقريحة وقادة".

قصة بدأت بإمرأة بلا أهمية, وانتهت برجل بلا أهمية, وبين الأثنين كل ما يحيط الخ��يئة من بشر ومعاني. وحقيقة أن بعض الخطايا يتولد من رحمها الأمل والحب والطهارة.

تناول وايلد فيها سطحيةالطبقة الأرستوقراطية للمجتمع الإنجليزي في العصر الفيكتوري ونفاقه, حيث بريق الحواف وظلام الأعماق. مجتمع يجيد فيه الناس فقط الإدعاء بمعرفة حقيقة الفضيلة والخير والحياة.

الرواية فلسفية من الدرجة الأولى, أكاد أكون سطرت معظمها كإقتباسات, التي لم يخلو بعضها من الفلسفة الفارغة, إلا إنها تبعث بدعوة ملحة للتفكير والتحليل, حوارها كان أشبه بمباراة فلسفية على قدر عالي جداً من الإحتراف والمتعة.

كتب هذه الرواية قبل محاكمته بسنتين, لذا غلب عليها تأثر وايلد بحياته الشخصية ايضاً بوجود البطل كبير السن المبهر بنظرياته الإبليسية عن الحياة الذي يبهر الشاب صغير السن, حتى إنه تم تكرار سطر كان قد كتبه في صورة دوريان جراي و:"النساء يمثلن انتصار المادة على العقل كما أن الرجال يمثلون انتصار العقل على المبادئ الأخلاقية"

ثم دفاعه عن الإثم والحياة العبثية, كما أنه طور نقده المهين لطبيعة المرأة حتى أصبح على لسان الشخصيات النسائية للمسرحية.

اظنني لن أمل أدب العصر الفيكتوري بعد قرائاتي لأوسكار وايلد,
عصر المجتمع السيئ والأدب الجيد
Profile Image for Hirdesh.
399 reviews88 followers
May 5, 2018
Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.

You should never try to understand them. Women are  pictures. Men are problems. If you want to know what a woman really means ­ which, by the way, is always a dangerous thing to do ­ look at her, don't listen to her

Elaborated Review soon.
Profile Image for Umut.
355 reviews164 followers
October 20, 2019
I loved this play, but my favourite is still The Importance Of Being Earnest.
This play had a wide cast of characters that allowed for social commentary. It created some witty conversations to include an American woman.
I loved the ending! Definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,014 reviews364 followers
November 16, 2019
Stabbing Toys

“ I believe he said her family was too large. Or was it her feet? I forget which. I regret it very much.“

“I assure you, dear, that the country has not that effect at all. Why, it was from Melthorpe, which is only two miles from here, that Lady Belton eloped with Lord Fethersdale. I remember the occurrence perfectly. Poor Lord Belton died three days afterwards of joy, or gout. I forget which. We had a large party staying here at the time, so we were all very much interested in the whole affair.”

“One should never take sides in anything, Mr. Kelvil. Taking sides is the beginning of sincerity, and earnestness follows shortly afterwards, and the human being becomes a bore.”

“Quite so. It is the problem of slavery. And we are trying to solve it by amusing the slaves.”

“— 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. Until, of course, people are found out to be good. But that requires a great deal of investigation nowadays.”

“ — How very, very charming those gold-tipped cigarettes of yours are, Lord Alfred.

— They are awfully expensive. I can only afford them when I’m in debt.

— It must be terribly, terribly distressing to be in debt.

— One must have some occupation nowadays. If I hadn’t my debts I shouldn’t have anything to think about. All the chaps I know are in debt.

— But don’t the people to whom you owe the money give you a great, great deal of annoyance?

— Oh, no, they write; I don’t.”

Words are toys by the pen of Oscar Wilde. Toys that he commonly uses to stab (stab?!... did I say stab?!... Sorry... I meant play, of course 😜) the English high society 😊

P.S.: Oscar Wilde is the one and only gay I marry in dreams. That of course is the best excuse I found for remaining single 😜
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews598 followers
July 23, 2015

I'll keep this review short because I have a really long list of quotes.

This one was a little sad, but it was, ironically, really hilarious too. It involves family drama, scandal, an arrogant jerk responsible for all the conflict in the play, etc. I enjoyed this play from beginning to end. As you may expect from Oscar Wilde, it was witty and cynical through and through.

However, I do have one complaint: Some repetitions of quotes. For example, there was one that made fun of marriage, and I'm pretty there was a really similar (if not the same) to that one in another of the plays I read before this one. Maybe this would have not been easy to notice if I hadn't read so many of his plays in a row.

Still, I enjoyed this immensely, especially the ending, which I will not spoil, but it made me feel so so so happy and grateful that karma exists.

100% recommended.

List of quotes:

LADY STUTFIELD. Ah! The world was made for men and not for women.
MRS. ALLONBY. Oh, don’t say that, Lady Stutfield. We have a much better time than they have. There are far more things forbidden to us than are forbidden to them.

It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one’s back that are absolutely and entirely true.

LADY CAROLINE. You believe good of every one, Jane. It is a great fault.
LADY STUTFIELD. Do you really, really think, Lady Caroline, that one should believe evil of every one?
LADY CAROLINE. I think it is much safer to do so, Lady Stutfield. Until, of course, people are found out to be good. But that requires a great deal of investigation nowadays.

MRS. ALLONBY. What a thoroughly bad man you must be!
LORD ILLINGWORTH. What do you call a bad man?
MRS. ALLONBY. The sort of man who admires innocence.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. And a bad woman?
MRS. ALLONBY. Oh! the sort of woman a man never gets tired of.

LORD ILLINGWORTH. I never intend to grow old. The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life.
MRS. ALLONBY. And the body is born young and grows old. That is life’s tragedy.

One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything except a good reputation.

I don’t think that we should ever be spoken of as other people’s property. All men are married women’s property. That is the only true definition of what married women’s property really is. But we don’t belong to any one.

When one is in love one begins by deceiving oneself. And one ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

I am disgraced: he is not. That is all. It is the usual history of a man and a woman as it usually happens, as it always happens. And the ending is the ordinary ending. The woman suffers. The man goes free.

How could I swear to love the man I loathe, to honour him who wrought you dishonour, to obey him who, in his mastery, made me to sin?

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.
Profile Image for N.
22 reviews129 followers
August 29, 2021
A Woman of No Importance is so far my least favourite Wilde play, but that doesn't say much as I still consider it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read. I didn't warm up to any one of the characters, like I did to Tuppy in Lady W's Fan or Algy from The Importance of Being Earnest, the society crowd seemed even vainer and dumber than usual however, which made up for everything that was lacking.

Even after a few days, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Hester wasn't - quite conveniently - a very rich woman.

This quote reminded me of our times of social media and cancel culture:

"He must be quite respectable. One has never heard his name before in the whole course of one's life, which speaks volumes for a man, nowadays."

And this one is brutal, but...beautiful?
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews404 followers
February 11, 2016
This is an 1893 play by Oscar Wilde that had a fair amount of success, although it's not regarded as one his best. It's a satire on upper class English society, and of course the best thing about it is Wilde's brilliant wit. It starts out a little slow but finishes with a flourish, although act IV is somewhat melodramatic. 3.5 stars, but I rounded up because I'm fond of Oscar Wilde.
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,785 reviews306 followers
February 14, 2019
In defense of the Single Mother
14 February 2019 – Port Campbell
Oh crap, I go on a holiday and the thing that I forget is the charger for my laptop. Gee, that is incredibly inconvenient, but at least it is a road trip, and I am not too far from where I live, so I can sort of drive back, get the charger, and then continue on my trip (though it turned out to be further than I thought, so I just got a universal charger, which will come in handy back at university). Well, that does sort of depend on the amount of time that I have, but since I’m driving, and my brother really doesn’t care where we end up going, then that does turn out to be a good thing.

Anyway, this delightful little play is Wilde’s 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, a lot of plays seem to be placed in the upper echelons of society, possibly because it allows us to get a glimpse into the rather scandal ridden, and ridiculous nature of the rather well healed.

The story is about a single mother, something that you really didn’t want to be back then. Actually, come to think of it, single mothers these days also get dumped on pretty heavily as well. In a way they are sort of slut shammed, namely because they happen to be left with the child after some rather dubious philanderer has their way with them and then disappears. However, in this story the father returns in an attempt to goad the child to come to India with him to work in the civil service.

Now, this is a pretty big thing, because getting into the Indian Civil Service was actually really, really hard. I remember going for a job in the civil service in Australia, for the Attorney General’s Department, and that was seriously one of the hardest interviews that I have ever been to. The amount of testing that they put you through is incredible. In a way that gives me an idea of what it was like to get into the Indian civil service in Victorian England – it was highly competitive, and only the best could hope to succeed.

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 doesn’t care about her. It is his son that he is interested in, and she can, well, go jump. In a way she is of no importance. That is the tragedy of the situation, in that the male, no matter how bad he is, still seems to get away with being a jerk while the woman is left to clean up the pieces. It reminds me of university where the male would have notches on his belt, while the woman would be slut shamed.

In a way nothing has changed – single mothers are ridiculed and considered to be a burden on society. In fact, the suggestion is that they actually go out and have kids simply so they can bludge off welfare. This is incredibly unfair, especially since the same people who slut shame them, also deny them abortions. In a way they expect them to remain pure while the guy, well, the guy can pretty much do what they want to do, and get away with it as well.

Of course, considering that this is a comedy, everything does eventually work out quite well. However, the beauty of this play is that Wilde is challenging the male attitude of treating women as conquests, and of being of no importance, while the male is considered to be a hero, and a sexual conqueror. 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.

Oh, and before I forget, this is a prime example of Wilde’s skill with the English language. The way he puts this play together, and the way he drafts the lines, is nothing short of perfection. No wonder when I actually saw one of his plays performed I considered him to be nothing short of a modern day Shakespeare.
Profile Image for leynes.
1,102 reviews2,954 followers
December 20, 2018
A Woman of No Importance
LORD ILLINGWORTH: It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.
"A Woman of No Importance" is a play by Oscar Wilde which premiered on 19 April 1893 in London. It is one of Oscar's society plays which satirizes the English upper class society. The conversations are all about gossip and small talk, and most of the characters are shallow and viewless.

At the beginning of the play Lady Caroline denounces Hester's enthusiasm for Gerald Arbuthnot until Gerald himself enters to proclaim that Lord Illingworth, a powerful, flirtatious male political figure, intends to employ him as his private secretary. Then Gerald is regarded as a good match after all.

The ladies of the company constantly discuss rumours about Lord Illingworth – his aim for being a foreign ambassador, his social life and amoral qualities toward women. And as soon as he enters the room, the sole focus is on him. Everything he has to say opposes the norm and excites the company, the only one who remains undeceived by him is Mrs. Arbuthnot, who had been unfortunate enough to meet him in her youth.

I was quite surprised to discover that this is quite the feminist play. Oscar tackles the issue of double standards in the Victorian Era and that men were forgiven for their indiscretions far more readily than women, and women were more condemned for moral failings. During a discussion of sinful women, Mrs. Arbuthnot contrasts Lady Hunstanton's later opinion by saying that ruining a woman's life is unforgivable. Furthermore, I really appreciated Hester's voice of reason in the play:
HESTER: Don't have one law for men and another for women. [...] And till you count what is a shame in a woman to be infamy in a man, you will always be unjust.
It was also really uplifting to see that whilst in the beginning of the play Mrs. Arbuthnot was being referred to as a "woman of no importance", this was contrasted by her describing Lord Illingworth as a "man of no importance" by the end of the play, indicating that he has no longer power over her in any way and that she didn't give two shits about him whatsoever. Additionally, it's always nice to see women of the 19th century being strong enough to decline a marriage proposal and having the necessary confidence in their own capability to lead a happy life on their own.

Surprisingly, in addition to the male dandy who is present in every society play by Oscar, there is a female dandy in "A Woman of No Importance" – Mrs. Allonby. She is a flirtatious woman who has a bit of a reputation for controversy. She is not the stereotypical female character and is equal to Lord Illingworth in her witticism and cynical statements.
MRS. ALLONBY: The only advantage of playing with fire, Lady Caroline, is that one never gets singed. It is the people who don't know how to play with it who get burned up.
And probably my favorite scene in the entire play in which Hester and Mrs. Allonby discuss London dinner-parties:
MRS. ALLONBY: I adore them. The clever people never listen, and the stupid people never talk.
HESteR: I think the stupid people talk a great deal.
MRS. ALLONBY: Ah, I never listen!
Another recurring theme is innocence. Innocence is presented in the character of Hester. She is an American girl who is foreign to the beliefs of the British aristocracy and their uptight morals and etiquette. Hester is often taken aback by their views and finds them far too materialistic and judgemental. However, the same can be said vice versa. The company sees Hester as naive and assumes that she has a hidden agenda in spreading her Puritan views.

I was really surprised by the ending of the play, drawing from my experience of reading other plays by Oscar, I thought that the dandy would come out on the top, but instead we had a triumph of family and feminism. Oscar didn't shy away from destroying his dandy – Illingworth came to regret his mode of life and had to recognize that he was at fault whereas the Puritan and the Feminist (in the play) had something more valuable to say.

The humour in "A Woman of No Importance" was much more subtle than in "The Importance of Being Earnest", but brilliant nonetheless. The fact that all characters had such annoying and exaggerated quirks, added a lot to my enjoyment of the satirical aspect of the play. For instance, Lady Caroline's blatant ignorance – she constantly and shamelessly refers to Mr. Kelvil as Mr. Kettle – or the fact that she is quite the overbearing wife and as soon as her husband is out of sight, quickly retrieves him and lectures him on everything. Another example for the satire in the play is Lady Studfield's stupid repetition of words on every occasion ("very, very interesting", "very, very wicked" etc.) – it supports the fact that she is a woman who has no mind of her own and just goes along with the things the important people in the room are saying.

Overall, I really enjoyed "A Woman of No Importance" and highly appreciated that it was a much more deeper and meaningful play . I applaud Oscar for his advocacy for gender equality.
Profile Image for Astraea.
139 reviews1 follower
December 2, 2017
واقعا عالی بود...4نمایشنامه از وایلد خوندم.کمدی هاش واقعا بد بود ولی این کتاب "زن فاقد اهمیت" و "بادبزن لیدی ویندرمیز" خیلی خوب بودند.پر از جملات زیبا و نغز...زیبایی هنر وایلد رو که همیشه تعریفشو شنیده بودم توی این کتاب دیدم....
Profile Image for Jasmine.
104 reviews190 followers
November 28, 2016
"Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them."
Profile Image for Ohana Rowen.
1 review5 followers
August 17, 2013
Although this certainly isn't the best Wilde play with regards to writing and comedy, it definitely contains the strongest and most critical themes. Like all his plays Wilde is extremely and effectively critical of 19th century, however this play emphasises the distorted attitudes towards women.

Wilde powerfully displays 19th century society's views towards women - how a man can be deceitful yet admired but a woman who is unmarried and unchaste is a woman of no importance. Lord Illingworth is pompous and self-indulged yet the other characters almost worship him. Where as Mrs. Arbuthnot has a son, Gerald, who was born out of wedlock and for this she is eschewed. However, without revealing the twist, Wilde shows how preconceived views can be wrong.

It also criticises how 19th century viewed women as rebellious. Hester, a 'Puritan' American, expresses different views from English society about how women should act; for this she is deemed 'different'. The views she express are very liberal for the time which the other characters mock. For a current audience this is quite humourous and displays some dramatic irony as Hester's views almost align with society today.

This play is definitely worth a read as it gives us an insightful view into the somewhat corrupt ideology of the 19th century. It might not mean to but this is a 'feminist' play which will not leave you disappointed.
Profile Image for Artemisia.
141 reviews
January 22, 2012
MRS. ALLONBY: The one advantage of playing with fire, Lady Caroline, is that one never gets even singed. It is the people who don't know how to play with it who get burned up.

MRS. ALLONBY: What a througly bad man you must be!
LORD ILLINGWORTH: What do you call a bad man?
MRS. ALLONBY: The sort of man who admires innocence.

MRS. ALLONBY: Men always want to be a woman's first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We women have a more subtle instinct about things. What we like is to be a man's last romance.

HESTER: [...] You love the beauty that you can see and touch and handle, the beauty that you can destroy, and do destroy, but of the unseen beauty of life, of the unsee beauty of a higher life, you konw nothing. You lost life's secret. [...]

LORD ILLINGWORTH: You should never try to understand them. Women are pictures. Men are problems. If you want to know what a woman really means - wich, by the way, is always a dangerous thing to do - look at her, don't listen to her.

MRS. ARBUTHNOT: Don't be deceived, George. Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely if ever do they forgive them.

Profile Image for Kathleen.
Author 1 book148 followers
January 3, 2020
Hester: I dislike London dinner-parties.
Mrs. Allonby: I adore them. The clever people never listen, and the stupid people never talk.

Oscar Wilde gives us a dinner party, where cultures clash, secrets unfold, characters are revealed and the upper class doesn’t necessarily get the upper hand. This one is short and light, yet with a little sting in the tail.

Lord Illingworth: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy.
Mrs. Allonby: No man does. That is his.

It is an Oscar Wilde style of social criticism, which instead of harsh judgments from the outside, is more like when your friend says, “You know, we really shouldn’t be doing this.” I love that about him.

This seems like a particularly appropriate time to be reading Oscar Wilde. I read six of his works this year, and I can’t help but wonder what he would be writing about society if he was around today. We might be better for his gentle scoldings.
Profile Image for Anne .
443 reviews360 followers
October 10, 2020
The usual exceptional wit and satire of Oscar Wilde. Brilliant, fun with a serious side as well, criticizing an aspect of the society of his day. The audio narration with a full cast was excellent.
Profile Image for Asmaa Essam.
243 reviews181 followers
June 27, 2016
يقدم "وايلد" لمحة عن المجتمع الإنجليزي ونظرته لكل من الرجل والمرأة إنذاك ..
حيث يلحق العار بكل إمرأة ترتكب ذنب ويُبريء كل رجل من خطيئته لمجرد إنه رجل ويصبح اللوم والعار يلاحق المرأة فقط على فعلتها ..
أيظاً يظهر أن نساء المجتمع الإنجليزي أصبحن دمي يتألقن فقط لمتعة الرجال ويتصنعن المثالية لنيل رضا الرجال والمعضلة الأكبر أنهن يعتقدن أن لا أهمية لهن في الحياة وعليهن ألا يفكرن وألا يطالبن بحقوقهن .. بل وواجب عليهن غفران نزوات الرجال ..
هو ما أراه-بالمناسبة- أشبه بما يجري في بعض المجتمعات العربية اليوم ..
وفي هذه المسرحية يثبت "أوسكار وايلد" أن في مثل هذه الظروف قد تنشأ إمرأة ذات خطيئة كبيرة في نظر المجتمع وتظل تقاوم إلى أن ينتصر الحب ..
فمن يجعلك عزيزتي تشعرين كأنك "إمرأة بلا أهمية" .. قد تذيقينه مرارة الحقيقة انه هو من ليس له أية أهمية في حياتك ...
Profile Image for Katarina.
127 reviews107 followers
June 5, 2019
Whenever I am in a reading slump or just not in the mood to finish my current read, Oscar's writing is the answer to my problem.

His wit has and always will amaze me. His understanding of life, opposite sex and human relations in general, which have scarcely changed over time, are precise and true. If social media existed in his time I'm sure Oscar would've founded Tumblr. After all that is where people go when they are in dire need of a quote, is it not?

P.S. I think that is the reason I won't ever be able to give his work a low rating - he is my Tumblr. :)
Profile Image for WhatIReallyRead.
685 reviews495 followers
April 13, 2020
Perhaps I shouldn't have started A Woman of No Importance immediately after finishing Lady Windermere's Fan.


In this play again the comedy and drama are combined. There's plenty of social commentary and hypocrisy mocked. Wilde's famous wit again sparkles from every other line of the dialogue. This made reading the play very enjoyable.

MRS. ALLONBY. They say, Lady Hunstanton, that when good Americans die they go to Paris.

LADY HUNSTANTON. Indeed? And when bad Americans die, where do they go to?

LORD ILLINGWORTH. Oh, they go to America.

However, I couldn't help but sometimes be pulled out of that enjoyment to think "this is wit for the sake of wit". Some dialogue felt unnecessary and disconnected from the story as if it was only included because it was something to say. Example:

MRS. ALLONBY. What a thoroughly bad man you must be!
LORD ILLINGWORTH. What do you call a bad man?
MRS. ALLONBY. The sort of man who admires innocence.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. And a bad woman?
MRS. ALLONBY. Oh! the sort of woman a man never gets tired of.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. You are severe - on yourself.
MRS. ALLONBY. Define us as a sex.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Sphinxes without secrets.

Now, the conversation flowed there for a moment, wit and all. But that "Define us as a sex" was completely out of nowhere. I don't believe the character would have come up with that question at that moment. Wilde just wanted to insert somewhere that women are "Sphinxes without secrets", and it didn't really fit.

The story doesn't really start until 40% mark of the play. It's all just an excuse for witty dialogue until that point.


Lord Illingworth is the one who speaks almost exclusively through witticisms. This made him an amusing and interesting character. He's the devil-may-care cynic. And when we find out he's the anti-hero, it makes him even more complex. He's like a bouquet of flowers with a faint note of rot beneath the aroma of blooms.

Hester is a young, beautiful, rather self-rightiously moralistic girl who eventually learns the world isn't black-and-white. She reminded me of Lady Windermere that way. But with little stage-time, we didn't get to know Hester well, so it was difficult to care for her particularly.

Gerald is a young man, quite generic for his time. He follows everyone around like a puppy, seeks approval and is eager to imitate and please. He has no agency. When he is outraged and tries to influence the sequence of events, it is with generic outrage, perfunctory words, and actions born entirely of expectations of others. He's quickly subdued, though, so it doesn't matter much.

Mrs. Arbuthnot, the martyr. At first, she comes across as a kind, sensible, good woman, noble even. This is conveyed to us through the opinions of others and through descriptions of her past actions. But when she enters the stage and we get to experience her character firsthand, to me she seemed vindictive, manipulative, selfish and petty. She hysterically clings to her adult son, gives self-righteous speeches, spews spite and blatantly admits she fully intends to be miserable her whole life just to put it in everyone's face.


***spoilers ahead, duh***

I wonder if Wilde meant the ending to be satirical or not. If not, it didn't really fit the story for me.

The devil-may-care cynic Illingworth suddenly, immediately, for no reason, against every character trait we saw in the whole play before, becomes attached to his bastard son. Even more surprisingly, he's willing to act against his beliefs and desires (which for the whole play he swore up and down he would never do), to bind himself to someone he didn't want to know (and he didn't even want to be bound to the people he liked), in order to get to talk to that bastard son. An absolutely unremarkable young man. One in whom Illingworth had absolutely no interest for 20 years. WHY? It just didn't at all fit the character. I didn't believe it.

The martyred Mrs. Arbuthnot triumphed, sort of? Was that the point of the ending? She found out Gerald wanted to make his father marry his mother. (LOL boy how? no one succeded in this 20 years ago, and now you decide to try with absolutely no ways to achieve this?) Mrs. Arbuthnot proceeds to refuse so adamantly as if a proposal was indeed made her. Illingworth grudgingly, barely and unbelievably almost agreed later. It's not like he actually wanted to marry, it's not like he even proposed. But she revels in her venomous speech so much, it really ruined any hope of her being a strong female character.

I wish the ending allowed more complexity to Illingworth if he had to make a change of heart and wish for a relationship with his son. Why is he allowed no chance at redemption? And I wish Mrs. Arbuthnot had the chance to actually behave nobly and composedly instead of that disgraceful scene. There was such potential here for a strong female character. If Illingworth genuinely wanted to marry her and Mrs. Arbuthnot calmly and firmly refused, it would have been a powerful scene and a strong woman. Kind of like Eugene Onegin, come to think of it. The ending of Lady Windermere's Fan was much better in terms of character complexity, I think.
Profile Image for   Luna .
265 reviews16 followers
July 25, 2015
Saints vs Sinners
The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Gerard: I want to go with Lord Illingworth, but I cannot abandon my mother.
Mrs. Arbuthnot: You are all mine, son.
Lord Illingworth: You can’t have him all for yourself, not anymore.

The only sin of Mrs. Arbuthnot catches up with her 20 years after she commits it. She has to give up her son to the one who destroyed her life by disgracing her. She has to let her only son embrace his father, whom Gerald thought was dead. Mrs. Arbuthnot has only one way to save her son and that is by telling him the truth no matter how hard it is.
“A Woman of no Importance” is an enjoyable read. I loved the way dichotomies are distorted. Saints are rejected while sinners are accepted with open arms. Disgraceful practices linger by and no one seems to pay attention to them. They are even encouraged. Dialogues contain what people think more than what they actually say, things that one is not supposed to say. Dialogues reveal what women would rather not tell and be, and men are portrayed as how they are loved because of their flaws and despised because of their intellect.
Mrs. Arbuthnot is a saint even though she is sinful. Her sin belongs to the past and even if it always there, as her son, she is a saint because “the only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” She tries to repent by dedicating her life to her son. She gives up everything for him, even her name. Her name caught my attention as being “are but not.” She becomes a nameless creature because of a wicked man, an“Ill personage” whose actions only bring misery. His worth is limited to his position and not to his virtues, as he has none. Lord Illingworth never changes. He tries to seduce and disgrace every woman whom he develops an interest but when he realizes that he has a son, something awakens in him. Regret. His only regret is that because of his actions, he cannot get to love and keep his son as his legitimate child. But even that regret fades quickly.
Profile Image for Shankar.
158 reviews3 followers
July 26, 2020
As a quick short read this play was really quaint. A very quick insight into the life and times in day of Oscar Wilde. Here are some interesting snippets

“MRS. ALLONBY. Do you know, Lady Caroline, I don’t think the frivolity of the wife has ever anything to do with it. More marriages are ruined nowadays by the common sense of the husband than by anything else.  How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly rational being?”

This was a great insight indeed though I thought I knew it.

“The Ideal Man!  Oh, the Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat us as if we were children.  He should refuse all our serious requests, and gratify every one of our whims.  He should encourage us to have caprices, and forbid us to have missions.  He should always say much more than he means, and always mean much more than he says.”

Now I know ...

“ When one is in love one begins by deceiving oneself.  And one ends by deceiving others.  That is what the world calls a romance. “

I mean .. these were really interesting quotes

One more “The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived.”

This gave me a very good introduction to Wilde’s world - the story of the play itself is brief but throws up a number of moral and social obligations of men and women that you would prefer to find out reading for yourself.

Profile Image for Cemre.
704 reviews474 followers
July 30, 2019
Oscar Wilde okumayı çook seviyorum. Salome haricinde okuduğum oyunlarında tema hep aynı aslında; ama hepsinden çok keyif aldım, çok eğlendim, çok güldüm. Önemsiz Bir Kadın'da da aynısı oldu. Bir gün sahnede izleyebilmeyi de çok isterim.
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