Plays, Oscar Wilde, and Life

Hello there.

I’m here today to talk about plays.  And more specifically, reading them.  The first time I ever read a play (that I can remember) was when I was in fifth grade.  To this very day, I vividly remember taking down my family’s tome of Shakespeare’s works from the shelf, and cracking open A Midsummer’s Night Dream.  As kid in grade five, I probably didn’t get much from it, and to be sure, the whole play is pretty much a haze in my mind.  But to me, the important part is that I really did try to read it.  And to get something out of it.

As the years have passed, I have begun to appreciate, and enjoy, reading plays more and more.  At first it was a gradual shift, one hardly noticeable even.  But the other day, it struck me.  I love plays now.  Julius Caesar, for example, was incredible.  And right now, I’m reading The Importance of Being Earnest (Along with Salomé and Lady Windermere’s Fan), by Oscar Wilde, and it is simply phenomenal.  Of course, I am a very personal fan of Oscar Wilde’s writings, but even so.  It has been on my mind all day (I started it yesterday), even to the point of distracting me from what I’m doing.  There are so many bits of it that I just love.  I’ve been taking mental notes of funny little quotes, trying to remember things, so that I can quote them, and laugh to myself.  Because I don’t really know too many people that have read The Importance of Being Earnest.  And so it will be like a lovely private joke, shared between myself and Mr. Wilde.

These two quotes, from Lady Windermere’s Fan, really struck me.

Lord Darlington: “…life is far too important a thing to ever talk seriously about.”

It is rather humorous, but of course, it made me think too.  Lord Darlington had a point.  Life is meant to be lived, not wasted.  So even though life is a very serious thing, it’s too important to waste.  And so I was thinking that Lord Darlington, even in his jest, meant that we should enjoy life, and that we shouldn’t fuss and overreact over things that we can’t change.

Lord Darlington: “I won’t tell you that the world matters noting, or the world’s voice, or the voice of society.  They matter a good deal.  They matter far too much.  But there are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence the world in its hypocrisy demands.”

Now, even though in this instance, Lord Darlington was trying to convince the (wedded) Lady Windermere to run away with him, I believe he  has a point.  We,  as human beings, are too easily tied down by rules that we set ourselves.  And even when we do break free from these rules, we somehow always manage to bind ourselves once more in some other set of them.

Lady Windermere's Fan

I just noticed that both of my chosen quotes are about life.  Life is really sort of what I’ve been focusing on recently.  The idea of living out life to its fullest.  And even though, to some, reading, curled up on the couch, might not be living out life, to me, it is.  But even if reading is a great part of life, I don’t think it should be all.  For if every life is a book, then they can’t all just be filled with the books’ of others.  So it should be a happy medium–a balance between learning through others and learning through yourself.

To the person that influenced me to think about this, if you do happen to ever read this, I hope that you recognize yourself in my words.  Because it’s been on my mind quite a bit lately.  I still think you’re the bandersnatch.

To the rest of my lovely readers, enjoy your weekend!

Claire Marie

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