My Thoughts: A Woman of No Importance

This is actually a play. Playwright: Oscar Wilde.

I need to say – I really need to say – that Oscar Wilde is KING. King of satire, king of irony, king of comedy, king of playwrights! (Before you ask, I do think Shakespeare is overrated. His plays never got me excited like Oscar Wilde.)

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From reading A Woman of No Importance, I concluded basically the same thing I concluded after reading Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, which is that, if I were to ever exist in this era (ignoring the fact that I’d be a black slave, of course), I’d either hate everybody to an unhealthily high degree, or I’d be so amused they’d have to fabricate a new delirium to diagnose me with.

What stuns me is how Wilde’s characters each have such striking personalities. Lady Caroline, yeah that girl is messed up. All those marriages have made her start treating her helpless husband, Sir John, like a misbehaving dog. Lady Stutfield, that follow-the-leader lady with a very, very (that’s a joke you’ll get if you’ve read the play) limited arsenal of adverbs. Lady Hustanton, the host, is almost sensible. ALMOST. Hester, the only American in the play, is by far the most intelligent woman. How anti-patriotic of Wilde.

As for the guys in the play, absolutely none of them are relevant to me except Gerald, who’s headstrong and slightly foolish, and Lord Illingworth. Lord Illingworth just kept on cracking me up because the guy’s an immoral idiot, but he’s a hilarious immoral idiot, even worse than Algernon from “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Most of my favourite quotes come from him. And Wilde, this King of Irony, makes him stab himself in the back, for all his foolish talk is worth.

I don’t know if anybody still reads these classic books for the sake of reading, and not just school, but I am ENCOURAGING PEOPLE to read this play. That’s why this post is spoiler-free and not analytical. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe Oscar Wilde deserves to be studied. Studying people’s writings demeans them, in my opinion, and turns some of the greatest writers into “have to but don’t wanna” authors instead of “don’t have to, but can’t stay away from you” authors – in terms of readers’ reaction.

Is it legitimate that Wilde’s surprises always…well, astound me? At some point of revelation in the play, I was literally going, “Oh my gosh! So wait, that was – oh my gosh!’ out loud, which really isn’t healthy when you’d like people to think you’re sane.

Conclusion: fantastic story. Read it and laugh.

Favourite quotes:

The one advantage of playing with fire, Lady Caroline, is that one never even gets singed. It is the people who don’t know how to play with it who get burned up.

Well, can I get some matches, please?

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

How scandalous! TRUE rumours?! What is the world coming to?!

Vulgar habit that is people have now-a-days, of asking one, after one has given them an idea, whether one is serious or not.

Can I give a shout-out to all my Ghanaians for this one?

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?

I mean come on. We know we’re crazy. You know we’re crazy. Why pretend otherwise?

When a man is old enough to do wrong, he should be old enough to do right also.

Disputable, but funny.

Oh, duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does one’s self.

Exactly!

Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.

There’s a shred of sensibility in this, you know.

My dear Gerald, examinations are of no value whatsoever. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.

Spoken like a well-bred idiot. I, however, completely agree with the first part.

To win back my youth, Gerald, there is nothing I wouldn’t do – except take exercise, get up early, or be a useful member of the community.

The mind state of every lazy adult, right there!

-Akotowaa

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2 thoughts on “My Thoughts: A Woman of No Importance

  1. Oscar Wilde is one of my favorites from that era. I met him through Du Profundis, Ballad Reading Gaol, and a book of his letters. It’s well worth checking out.

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