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Oscar Wilde: A Woman of No Importance
3. THIRD ACT (continued)
GERALD. But women are awfully clever, aren't they?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. One should always tell them so. But, to the philosopher, my dear Gerald, women represent the triumph of matter over mind - just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.
GERALD. How then can women have so much power as you say they have?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. The history of women is the history of the worst form of tyranny the world has ever known. The tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts.
GERALD. But haven't women got a refining influence?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Nothing refines but the intellect.
GERALD. Still, there are many different kinds of women, aren't there?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Only two kinds in society: the plain and the coloured.
GERALD. But there are good women in society, aren't there?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Far too many.
GERALD. But do you think women shouldn't be good?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. One should never tell them so, they'd all become good at once. Women are a fascinatingly wilful sex. Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.
GERALD. You have never been married, Lord Illingworth, have you?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.
GERALD. But don't you think one can be happy when one is married?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Perfectly happy. But the happiness of a married man, my dear Gerald, depends on the people he has not married.
GERALD. But if one is in love?
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