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Remind yourself of the extract at the end of Act I, between Lord Illingworth and Mrs Allonby. What is the importance of this extract in the context of the whole play?

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Introduction

Remind yourself of the extract at the end of Act I, between Lord Illingworth and Mrs Allonby. What is the importance of this extract in the context of the whole play? 'A woman of no importance' is a social comedy written in 1893. Wilde explores themes such as sexual politics, social hypocrisy and discusses gender roles in a nineteenth century context. It could be argued that all of the characters in "A Woman of No Importance" embody certain elements of Oscar Wilde's ideology and indeed the main themes and allusions of the plot, sexual politics, class systems and reputation, seem to be based on the themes in Wilde's own life. Hester portrays some of the Puritanical views and represents a state unbound by class barriers which is an idea which appealed to Wilde. Her American heritage also links to the American culture and way of living which Wilde loved so much. Kelvil also holds views on society similar to those of Wilde who also seems very sympathetic and aware of the lower classes in a socialist perspective. ...read more.

Middle

This is shown when Lady Caroline is discussing the topic of men with Hester Worsley, "It is not customary in England, Miss Worsley, for a young lady to speak with such enthusiasm of any person of the opposite sex". This portrays that women of the Victorian era were not advised to speak of men openly, due to gender difference which was a major theme associated with the Victorian period. The language used here, can be perceived as if Lady Caroline is speaking to Hester Worsley as if she was of less intelligence than her. Lord Illingworth plays the role of the flirtatious, romantically carefree male in the play; very similar to the personality of his creator, Oscar Wilde. Illingworth's relationship with Gerald is discussed by Lady Caroline, "Lord Illingworth seems to have taken quite a fancy to him". His lustful behaviour prompts Lady Hunstanton to suggest that Lord Illingworth "does not value the moral qualities in women as much as he should." ...read more.

Conclusion

His speech is filled with witticism and aphorisms, which link the two men to an extent where we cannot tell whether the words are that of the character of directly from Wilde himself. Such aphorisms are embedded in the text by Wilde to enhance the understanding of Illingworth's personal opinions and philosophies. It is therefore evident that Wilde has incorporated his traits and beliefs into "A woman of no importance" most significantly through the characters of Mrs Allonby and Lord Illingworth. Wilde uses literary techniques such as aphorisms and witticisms to express opinions and philosophies most of which seem to be direct from him with the character being used as a mouthpiece through which he can express such views. The play is one which challenges the conventions of society in terms of class, marriage, morality and conflicting ideals. To conclude, the relationship between Lord Illingworth and Mrs. Allonby shows that the stereotypes of women have changed and shows the difference between the female and male gender. It also gives a different insight of the stereotypical view of women and the modern perspective of women in 21st century. ?? ?? ?? ?? Oscar Wilde- A woman of no importance ...read more.

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