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?
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I really love to read Wilde and I am happy I finally got around to reading this play, A Woman of No Importance. It’s a classic work written by Wilde, full of witticism, humour and his typical philosophy on many subjects of life.
The play itself is not very eventful. It takes place over the course of twenty-four hours and it’s mostly just the characters conversing and discussing marriage, the differences between American and England, between men and women, etc. But Wilde really was incredible; he could draw me simply with the interesting, witty dialogues that actually make one think. I do not agree with the characters (that speak for Wilde) on a lot of aspects, but I appreciate their philosophies nonetheless because they stand behind their words and honour them.
With plays, playwrights have to present their characters through dialogues, which is not a very easy thing to do, come to think of it, but to me it was incredible how I already knew the gist of the characters after only reading five pages of the play. That’s a true delight. Wilde really lined out the characters well. Most of the characters (with the exception of the servant who does not have a significant role) have clear personalities and are great fun to read.
There are many great quotes in the play; I could easily quote a half of the play to show you my favourite quotes. I would like to share one, as I have it stuck in my head: “Nothing should be out of the reach of hope. Life is a hope.” I really like this view on life.
To conclude, I have to say that at times, I struggled with the play because there was not much action, but the great dialogues compensate for this. I think that one should read at least one work by Wilde in their lives and A Woman of No Importance would be a good choice.
I read the play for the Ireland Reading Challenge 2010.
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