There are a great many things to hate about high society and I’m not just saying that as a plebeian proletariat. From decadence to the disconnect they seem to feel with the rest of humanity, there is no shortage of things that leave one just sort of tilting one’s head and wondering just what the hell is going on. One of my greatest irritations has always been the lack of culpability of men when it comes to cheating on ones’ spouse. For a man, it is nothing, a tryst in the name of whim, lust, or boredom is a line of gossip, a warning one to one’s unwed daughters. For the woman it is ruinous, it is the dismal and segregation from ‘polite’ society and the degradation of an entire family line.
Wilde addresses this issue to great effect in A Woman of No Importance. The characters are not as vibrant as I would like (some feel like simply weaker versions of one’s he would use in his later works), but the vehemence with which Wilde criticizes and demolishes the absurdity of women’s position in society and the reality of their sexual power is something that struck a particular warming chord in my chest.
It’s decidedly modern take on love when combined with Wilde’s ability to off-handedly conjure wit left me stunned. The common consensus seems to be that this is one of Wilde’s weakest plays.
What a shockingly silly thing, consensus.
“One should never take sides in anything, Mr. Kelvil. Taking sides is the beginning of sincerity, and earnestness follows shortly afterwards, and the human being becomes a bore.” ― Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance