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Gerald remains ignorant of his father's true identity until Hester accuses Lord Illingworth of trying to seduce her.

Gerald swears he will kill Lord Illingworth, but his mother stops him by revealing that Lord Illingworth is his father. After this, Gerald decides not to accept the job offer. Lady Arbuthnot returns to her home with Gerald and Hester, who decides that she loves Gerald more than ever. Hester says, 'Who, being loved, is poor? I hate my riches. They are a burden. Let him share it with me. Money means nothing to her compared with the love she has found with Gerald. As the story ends, Lord Illingworth makes one more attempt to bring Gerald into his life by visiting Lady Arbuthnot, but she sees through him and refuses.

The whole ordeal has made her stronger. When Lord Illingworth leaves, he forgets one of his gloves. Gerald is unaware of his father's last visit and asks who the glove belongs to. The final line in the play is priceless: Arbuthnot replies that the glove belongs to 'A man of no importance.

A Woman Of No Importance: The plot in one minute

The story focuses on Gerald Arbuthnot , a young man born to a single mother, Mrs. Arbuthnot , at a time when unwed mothers were shunned and shamed. In the end, Illingworth's ill character is revealed, Gerald rejects his job offer, and Mrs. Arbuthnot finds some strength and dignity in standing up to the man who abandoned her in a harsh society.

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The play ends on a happy note, with Gerald, Hester and Mrs. Arbuthnot finding some resolution and hope for the future. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study. Did you know… We have over college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1, colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.


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What teachers are saying about Study. A Woman of No Importance: Are you still watching? Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds. Add to Add to Add to. Want to watch this again later? Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde: Salome by Oscar Wilde: Introduction to Oscar Wilde: Plays, Novels, and Sexuality.

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James: Maggie, a Girl of the Streets: William Wycherley's The Country Wife: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: The Cloud by Shelley: The Vicar of Wakefield: Man and Superman by Shaw: Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw: Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho: Maud by Alfred Lord Tennyson: To Kill a Mockingbird Study Guide. Oscar Wilde lived during the Victorian era, a time in which women had very few rights compared to men. Hester doesn't believe women should get off without blame, though, and says: Want to learn more?

Select a subject to preview related courses: Conflict Resolution Gerald remains ignorant of his father's true identity until Hester accuses Lord Illingworth of trying to seduce her. Arbuthnot an unwed mother during a time when it was absolutely scandalous to have a child out of wedlock Gerald Arbuthnot a naive young man who plans to marry Hester, an American woman Hester Worsley a young American woman with very strong opinions about the double standard towards scorned women versus the men who impregnate them Lord George Illingworth was a young man when Gerald was conceived; it is clear that he is still flirtatious and indecent, though he manages to keep up appearances Lady Hunstanton a wealthy woman who has a large enough home to host guests; she's a member of upper class who gossips about people with her friends Learning Outcomes A thorough review of the lesson will strengthen your ability to: Recognize the theme of Oscar Wilde's Victorian play A Woman of No Importance Recall the major characters in the play Discuss the twists and confrontations that take place Highlight the play's conflict resolutions.

A Woman of No Importance (Play) Plot & Characters | StageAgent

Unlock Your Education See for yourself why 30 million people use Study. Become a Member Already a member? Earning College Credit Did you know… We have over college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1, colleges and universities. Oscar Wilde's tale of marriage and manners with a modern twist: Lady Bracknell as a formidable and demanding Chinese mother. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!

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Arbuthnot, it was his refusal to marry that forced her to leave him and live an arduous life as a scandalous single mother. Arbuthnot retains a strong bitterness toward Illingworth, yet also begs him to leave her son alone, expressing that after twenty years of being a mother, Gerald is all she has. She refuses to allow Gerald to stay with his father, but Illingworth questions how she will force Gerald to do what she wants.

Arbuthnot that Gerald should be able to choose his own future. Gerald then enters, and Lord Illingworth assures him and his mother that Gerald has the highest qualities that the man had hoped for in a secretary. Illingworth demands any other reason for Mrs. Arbuthnot to protest against Gerald's opportunity. Unwilling to reveal her son's true heritage, Mrs. Arbuthnot says that she has no other reason. Gerald speaks of his admiration and protective attitude toward his mother, expressing that she is a great woman and wondering why she has never told him of his father.

Lord Illingworth agrees that his mother is a great woman, but he further explains that great women have certain limitations that inhibit the desires of young men. Leading the conversation into a cynical talk about society and marriage, Lord Illingworth says that he has never been married and that Gerald will have a new life under his wing. Soon the other guests enter, and Lord Illingworth entertains them with his invigorating views on a variety of subjects, such as comedy and tragedy, savages, and world society.

Everything Lord Illingworth has to say opposes the norm and excites his company, leaving Mrs. Arbuthnot room to say that she would be sorry to hold his views. During a discussion of sinful women, she also opposes Lady Hunstanton's later opinion by saying that ruining a woman's life is unforgivable. Allonby leave to look at the moon. Gerald attempts to follow, but his mother protests and ask him to take her home. Gerald says that he must first say goodbye to Lord Illingworth and also reveals that he will be going to India with him at the end of the month.

Arbuthnot is then left alone with Hester, and they resume the previous conversation about women. Arbuthnot is disgusted by Hester's view that the sins of parents are suffered by their children. Arbuthnot is waiting for her son to return, Hester decides to fetch Gerald. Gerald soon returns alone, however, and he becomes frustrated with his mother's continued disapproval for what he sees as an opportunity to earn his mother's respect and the love of Hester.

A Woman of No Importance

Remembering Hester's views, Mrs. Arbuthnot decides to tell her son the truth about his origin and her past life with Lord Illingworth, but she does so in the third person, being sure to describe the despair that betrayed women face. Gerald remains unmoved, however, so Mrs. Arbuthnot withdraws her objections. Hester then enters the room in anguish and flings herself into Gerald's arms, exclaiming that Lord Illingworth has "horribly insulted" her.

He has apparently tried to kiss her. Gerald almost attacks Illingworth in a rage when his mother stops him the only way she knows how: With this revelation, Gerald takes his mother home, and Hester leaves on her own. Act IV opens with Gerald writing a letter in his mother's sitting room, the contents of which will ask his father to marry Mrs. Lady Hunstanton and Mrs. Allonby are shown in, intending to visit Mrs. The two comment on her apparent good taste and soon leave when the maid tells them that Mrs.

Arbuthnot has a headache and will not be able to see anyone.

A Woman of No Importance review – Eve Best takes a feminist grip on Wilde's melodrama

Gerald says that he has given up on being his father's secretary, and he has sent for Lord Illingworth to come to his mother's estate at 4 o'clock to ask for her hand in marriage. Arbuthnot enters, Gerald tells her all that he has done and that he will not be his father's secretary. Arbuthnot exclaims that his father must not enter her house, and the two argue over her marrying Gerald's father. Gerald claims that the marriage is her duty, while Mrs. Arbuthnot retains her integrity, saying that she will not make a mockery of marriage by marrying a man she despises.

She also tells of how she devoted herself to the dishonor of being a single mother and has given her life to take care of her son. Hester overhears this conversation and runs to Mrs. Hester says she has realized that the law of God is love and offers to use her wealth to take care of the man she loves and the mother she never had.


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After ensuring that Mrs. Arbuthnot must live with them, Gerald and Hester leave to sit in the garden. The maid announces the arrival of Lord Illingworth, who forces himself past the doorway and into the house.