A Woman of No Importance is a play by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. The play, published in 1893, is typical of Wilde's brand of dark comedy. It looks in particular at English upper class society and has been reproduced on stages in Europe and North America since his death in 1900.
The scene is set in an English country house deep in Victorian High society. The curtains open to the terrace where we are introduced to Lady Caroline and her aristocratic 'friends' who are engaging in conversation with their American Puritan guest Hester Worsley. The discussion is joined by the powerful and charismatic dandy Lord Illingworth who has offered the post of secretary to the fortunate Gerald Arbuthnot. Gerald's mother is invited to join the party, after arrival she realises this offer is more complicated than it seems, as Illingworth is the father of her illegitimate son who refused marriage all those years ago. The tension mounts when Mrs Arbuthnot is caught between telling her son the truth or allowing him to go with the man who spoilt her life.
Characters of the Play