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A Woman of No Importance: An Analysis on Hester Worsley Characterization 30 September 2010

These are Hester’s characterizations:

1.     Nationalist

A nationalist is different from racist. A racist tends to ruin others by mocking them or their property.  Hester defends her nationality by only making positive statement but not destroying others. The interesting dispute between Lady Caroline and Hester is begun with Caroline’s statement that Hunstanton house is the first house she stayed at. Lady Caroline, then, state negative again about America. Hester answers all by giving positive illustration.

2.    Calm and Patient

The stage direction of the drama shows that Hester is a calm girl. In first act, when Lady Caroline said “Have you any country? What we should call country?” Hester answered by smiling first. The smile is not expressionless smile or forced smile or a grim smile, it is proven in the following statement after she smiles.

3.    Optimistic

When Gerald offered to be Lord Illingworth’s secretary, Gerald said to Hester “… It means everything to me – things that were out of the reach of hope before may be within hope’s reach now.” Hester answered “Nothing should be out of reach of hope. Life is a hope.”

4.    Simple and Sober

It is shown when Mrs. Allonby asked Hester “Don’t you find yourself longing for a London dinner party?” Then Hester answered “I dislike London dinner-parties”

We know that at that time, London dinner-parties were luxurious and attended by the nobles and rich people. Hester does not like that.

5.    Obedient

She is an American puritan. It means that she is fanatic of her religion and also keeping the moral values up. It is shown in the discussion between Mrs. Allonby and Lord Illingworth when he thinks if he kissed Hester.

6.    Racist

In act 2, Hester states American society consists simply of all the good women and good men. This statement is answering Lady Hunstanton’s question.

She also says that In America there were no lower classes. All the statements are opposing the facts in England at that time.

7.    Clever

Act two, there some statements that are the evidences of Hester cleverness. She is very good in answering the pressure. Hester answers Lady Hustanton’s questions by stating deep analysis of England society. Hester’s statements are long and also accurate.

Hester is also clever in reconciling Gerald and Mrs. Arbuthnot. She is very good in bringing this critical situation. Gerald insists that his mother must marry Lord Illingworth, and he also wants to be Lord’s secretary. But Hester’s trick in encouraging Mrs. Arbuthnot succeeds. Finally, the situation is totally changed. Gerald cancels all he wants.

8.    Polite

Hester does not want to talk too much in debating the society of two countries. She said “I am afraid you think I spoke too strongly…” Before she uttered this statement, she has long debate with Lady Hunstanton.

9.    Rational and Objective

Hester said much as the judgments of women of England were not good as she expected. But, when she met Mrs. Arbuthnot, she said “… You are so different from the other women here… There are things that are right to say, but that may be said at the wrong time and to the wrong people. It means that, In England, there were so many things that must be judged good too.


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