How and why does Oscar Wilde subvert ideals of gender in A Woman of no Importance?

Module: Nineteenth Century Contexts (Level 5)


  • Grace Constantine


Oscar Wilde, Contexts, Nineteenth Century Contexts, A Woman of No Importance


This essay explores the textual representations of various social issues of the nineteenth-century period, particularly the supposedly ‘proper’ gendered and sexual roles and behaviours of men and women in the home and the public spheres. It primarily focuses on Oscar Wilde’s play A Woman of No Importance accompanied by three contemporary secondary sources which support the argument of the essay as to how Wilde’s play subverts the ideals of gender in the Nineteenth Century.

Author Biography

Grace Constantine

Grace Constantine has recently completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature. Studying English at Leeds Beckett University offered her a wide range of literary themes and time periods to explore, including one of her favourites, Nineteenth-Century Contexts. This module takes a theoretically informed approach to the contextual study of literature. During her time on the course, she completed a variety of assignments varying from oral assessments with presentations, critical and evaluative essays, and producing an introductory essay for an anthology. The skills she has acquired from these assessments are vital for future careers. Her undergraduate degree involved hybrid teaching with some parts being in person and others online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She found that the level of communication and teaching from her tutors was maintained throughout the hybrid teaching making her time on the English Literature BA Honors course an incredibly positive experience.