View Full Version : Act I of No Importance

11-28-2006, 02:39 PM
Hello! I am just through reading the Act I of Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, and in my opinion, Act I was kind of lame- I mean not as brilliantly written as his other plays (I've only read two so far-The Importance of Being Earnest & Lady Windermere's Fan, both of which I think were superbly crafted.) Anyway, back to Act I. There were so many characters (ladies, actually) that it gets annoyingly confusing which lady is married with whom. And thier conversations, I found, were quite a bore.

Now Im starting Act II. and thank goodness, it has become more pleasurable to read. This Act, I think is where Wilde brings back the Wilde-ishness that was obviously lost in the first act. This excerpt, spoken by Mrs. Allonby. I found amusiing:

Mrs. Allonby: When Ernest and I were engaged, he swore to me positively on his knees that he had never loved anyone before in the whole course of his life. I was very young at that time, so I didn't believe him, I needn't tell you. Unfortunately, however, I made no inquiries of any kind till after I has been actually married four or five months. I found out then that what he had told me was perfectly true. And that sort of thing makes a man so absolutely uninteresting.

And this one too, amusing, from Hester, the American, to Lady Hunstanton:

Hester :We are trying to build up life, Lady Hunstanton, on a better, purer, basis than life rests on here. This sounds strange to you all, no doubt. How could it sound other than strange? You rich people in England, you don't know how you are living. How could you know? 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 others and by them, you sneer at self-sacrifice, and if you throw bread to the poor it is merely to keep them quiet for a reason. With all your pomp and wealth and art you don't know how to live-you don't even know that. You love the beauty you can see and touch and handle , the beauty that you can destroy, and do destroy, but of the unseen beauty of life, the unseen beauty of a higher life, you know nothing. You have lost life's secret. Oh, you English society seems to me shallow, selfish, foolish. It has blinded its eyes, and stopped its ears. It lies like a leper in purple. It sits like a dead thing smeared with gold. It is all wrong, all wrong.

I hope for better Acts III and IV.

12-01-2006, 05:16 AM
Hello, toni. Darn, I haven't read this one yet so I can't further comment. I have only read An Ideal Husband, Salome, The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere's Fan. I love them all as they depict the mastery of Wilde as a playwright.

12-01-2006, 05:24 AM
Hello to you too, SubT! :wave:
Actually, I am not yet done with Act II. I really got to finish that one soon so I could get started on An Ideal Husband.. Is it as good as the The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere's Fan?
I am really in trouble with A Woman of No Importance. I get all yawny when I read it, so I can't finish properly. Do you think I should leave it first then get back to it after I'm through with the other Wilde plays I am more excited to read? :)

12-01-2006, 05:35 AM
Yes, I understand what you mean there (about the yawning thing). I read 2 first pages of the plays and it is indeed not as fascinating as the ones I previously read. People put high praise on Importance... but I say An Ideal Husband is very close behind it. I'm completely amused with the way the plots run!

12-01-2006, 05:41 AM
Okay. :) I think the best Wilde play so far is The Importance.. But as you know, I have only read two. I made up my mind. Im gonna stop reading No Importance because it really is, to me, of no importance.. hihi.:D
Im going to start An Ideal Husband later...:D

01-06-2010, 07:20 PM
It is important to keep in mind that Wilde had scored a resounding success with his play Lady Windermere's Fan. But then he had suffered an embarrassing setback when his second play Salome was refused a license to be produced in England because at that time it was still illegal in England to dipict Biblical characters on stage. So Wilde was faced with a dilemma. Having had success with Lady Windermere's Fan, it was of the utmost importance to Wilde to follow it up with another play. Since it was impossible for Salome to be produced in England, Wilde quickly began another play which turned out to be A Woman Of No Importance. But Wilde rushed the first act--he wrote it too fast--he didn't plan it well. It was really not a good first act, and most assurdely was not up to Wilde's standards. Wilde finally settled down and by the time he began on the second act he knew what he had to do and he knew he had to slow down and plan it out --which he did. And although A Woman Of No Importance has its flaws--especially in the first act, it is not a bad play.