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A Woman of No Importance

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  10,013 ratings  ·  539 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Penguin Books (first published 1893)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Crucible by Arthur  Miller
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Bionic Jean
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bionic Jean by: Poornima
“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
Katie Lumsden
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this play. So compelling, witty and nuanced - I love the social criticism and the ending. Such a great play.
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.

Youshouldnevertry tounderstandthem. Women are pictures. Men areproblems. If youwant toknowwhat awoman really means which, by theway, is always adangerous thingto do lookather, don't listen toher

Elaborated Review soon.
Umut Rados
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Maria Espadinha
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Vanessa J.
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it

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,
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.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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

David Sarkies
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
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
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them."
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Ohana Rowen
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
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
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
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Read as part of my omnibus The Plays of Oscar Wilde while listening to the BBC Radio 4X radio drama (

3.5 stars --- this play, while containing some excellent quips including (view spoiler), lacks the lightness of touch that characterizes "An Ideal Husband" and "Lady Windemere's Fan". Instead, Wilde
Saburi Pandit
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's rare, Wilde's intelligence, his arrogance in writing, and his understanding of people. He fills this play, with the charm of his characters, the tragedy of them, thier boring lives at times, and their blistering reality. By the end of the play, I was glad to see that Wilde had understood the women to not be the same. As he had understood his men.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Always delightful to read Oscar Wilde. Even better listening to it - enacted by a full cast theatre group - the LA Theatre Works.
Woosh! That's the sound of half the by-play going over my head. If it hadn't been for the laugh track in this play, I wouldn't have realized a lot of it was a joke. For all that, there were some real scorchers. Wilde certainly had a way with words.

Lord Illingworth was a prick, but he was certainly an affable & pleasant dinner companion. (Reminded me a lot of my step-father; a nice guy on short acquaintance, but an absolutely unreliable & selfish bastard over time.) He was definitely the
Boysie Freeman (not my real name, it's just my Internet name)
I like Wilde, I love Wilde, I can give my kidney to Wilde, but in this drama he recycled his epigrams way too often in a less funny way.

No offense I'm Wilde fangirl and I will hit you with my Wilde Complete Works if you ever dare to criticize "The Importance of Being Earnest" but this one... meh, Wilde at his worst, because he was lazy. I don't mind Wilde repeating himself but this play is weak to compare with An Ideal Husband or Lady Windermere's Fan.
Neeraj Chavan
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.

To get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people. That is all.

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

This is one of those typical Oscar Wilde plays, filled with aphorisms in the form of conversations. The story begins with the entire bunch of play's characters
Jenny Cooke (Bookish Shenanigans)
I absolutely loved this play and examination of women's precarious position in Victorian society and how easily it can be ruined.
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
(Read as part of the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.)

I want to say that this is probably the weakest of Wilde's plays so far, and I read on Wikipedia that that's actually a common thought. There's a lot of fun dialogue which is... well... fun... but as far as plot goes, it doesn't really kick in until sometime later. Which, when it shows up, actually feels a bit disjointed.

Then the plot itself is one that he seems to have written frequently. It was apparently a schtick of his. It gets stale after
Jim Dooley
There is a deception that is part of the fun of reading Oscar Wilde. This work is a four Act play and, for the most part, reads like a typical drawing room piece. Today’s audiences would have great difficulty in watching people seated and chatting, even if witticisms are being bandied about. After a while, all of the one-upmanships begin to grow stale. Then, there is the amoral reprobate who seems to be a featured player in so many of Wilde’s works.

This is the pattern for the first two Acts. I
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wilde’s always good for a laugh. He plays his contradictions perfectly. But I always come away from his comedies feeling like I just ate a lot of candy and now I’ve got a stomachache. For all their cleverness, they’re really quite flimsy. I actually think his novel is better than all his plays- its intentions run a little deeper and it stands up a little better on examination.

Still- “A Woman of No Importance” is probably my favourite Wilde play, and it is, after all, so outrageously witty that
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
At a country house party, Mrs Arbuthnot's long-concealed secret comes back to haunt her. Stars Diana Rigg and Martin Jarvis.
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
"The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived."

"All love is terrible. All love is a tragedy."

"Lord Illingworth : I was very young at the time. We men know life too early.
Mrs. Arbuthnot : And we women know life too late. That is the difference between men and women."

I couldn't read a page without admiring and quoting some passage ... It's just an amazing way of writing !
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of the more serious books from Oscar Wilde. Starts with the typical-Oscar Wilde satire, but quickly gets serious. Found myself rooting for Mrs.Arbuthnot - strong and sensible woman.

Some of the thoughts elicited here against the differential attitude in the society towards men and women would have surely been ahead of its times - almost 'feminist' in nature.
What is pitiful though is that, not much has changed today in most societies.

Definitely worth a read!
Alaa ϟ
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I'm absolutely biased to Oscar Wilde's writing.

The quotations, I have nearly highlighted everything this man wrote.

His writing is absolutely delicious. I can't get enough. so sassy so sarcastic i love.
Yukari Watanabe/渡辺由佳里
I read this before, but I listened a L.A. Theatre Works version today. It was well played!
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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 ...more
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.” 2421 likes
“Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.” 262 likes
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