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Low Society - The Insults of Oscar Wilde

... Living at the mercy of a woman who has neither mercy nor pity in her, a woman whom it is an infamy to meet, a degradation to know, a vile woman, a woman who comes between husband and wife!
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Ah, all that I have noticed is that they are horribly tedious when they are good husbands, and abominably conceited when they are not.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Ah, nowadays people marry as often as they can, don't they? It is most fashionable.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
All men are married women's property. That is the only true definition of what married women's property really is.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
An engagement should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
As for marriage, it is one of their most popular institutions. The American man marries early, and the American woman marries often; and they get on extremely well together.
THE AMERICAN MAN
But we are positively getting elbowed into the corner. Our husbands would really forget our existence if we didn't nag at them from time to time, just to remind them that we have a perfect legal right to do so.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
By persistently remaining single a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Egad! I might be married to her; she treats me with such demmed indifference.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect - simply a confession of failure.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
From childhood, the husband has been brought up on the most elaborate fetch-and-carry system, and his reverence for the sex has a touch of compulsory chivalry about it, while the wife exercises an absolute despotism, based upon female assertion, and tempered by womanly charm.
THE AMERICAN MAN
Good heavens! How marriage ruins a man! It's as demoralising as cigarettes, and far more expensive.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
He was eccentric, I admit. But only in later years. And that was the result of the Indian climate, and marriage, and indigestion, and other things of that kind.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Her sense of humour keeps her from the tragedy of a grande passion, and, as there is neither romance nor humility in her love, she makes an excellent wife.
THE AMERICAN INVASION
He's entrammelled by this woman - fascinated by her -dominated by her. If a woman wants to hold a man, she has merely to appeal to what is worst in him.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
I am disgraced; he is not. That is all. It is the usual history of a man and a woman as it usually happens, as it always happens. And the ending is the ordinary ending. The woman suffers. The man goes free.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
I assure you women of that kind are most useful. They form the basis of other people's marriages.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
I have always been of the opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
I have often observed that in married households the champagne is rarely of a first-rate brand.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
I know it is the general lot of women, Each miserably mated to some man
Wrecks her own life upon his selfishness: That it is general makes it not less bitter.
I think I never heard a woman laugh, Laugh for pure merriment, except one woman,
That was at night time, in the public streets. Poor soul, she walked with painted lips, and wore
The mask of pleasure: I would not laugh like her; No, death were better.
THE DUCHESS OF PADUA
In America, the horrors of domesticity are almost entirely unknown. There are no scenes over the soup, no quarrels over the entrees, and as, by a clause inserted in every marriage settlement, the husband solemnly binds himself to use studs and not buttons for his shirts, one of the chief sources of disagreement in ordinary middle-class life is absolutely removed.
THE AMERICAN MAN
In married life affection comes when people thoroughly dislike each other.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
It is the growth of the moral sense of women that makes marriage such a hopeless, one-sided institution.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
It's a curious thing. . . about the game of marriage - a game, by the way, that is going out of fashion - the wives hold all the honours, and invariably lose the odd trick.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
It's most dangerous nowadays for a husband to pay any attention to his wife in public. It always makes people think that he beats her when they're alone.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
It's perfectly scandalous the amount of bachelors who are going about society. There should be a law passed to compel them all to marry within twelve months.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
London is full of women who trust their husbands. One can always recognise them. They look so thoroughly unhappy.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Lord Caversham: If she did accept you she would be the prettiest fool in England.
Lord Goring: That is just what I should like to marry. A thoroughly sensible wife would reduce me to a condition of absolute idiocy in less than six months.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Lord Caversham: What I say is that marriage is a matter for common sense.
Lord Goring'. But women who have common sense are so curiously plain, father, aren't they? Of course I only speak from hearsay.
Lord Caversham'. No woman, plain or pretty, has any common sense at all, sir. Common sense is the privilege of our sex.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Lord Illingwonh: Women have become too brilliant. Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman.
Mrs. Allonby: Or the want of it in the man.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Lord Illingworth: The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden.
Mrs. Allonby: It ends with Revelations.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Loveless marriages are horrible. But there is one thing worse than an absolutely loveless marriage. A marriage in which there is love, but on one side only; faith, but on one side only; devotion, but on one side only and in which of the two hearts one is sure to be broken.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Men always want to be a woman's first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We women have a more subtle instinct about things. What we like is to be a man's last romance.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Miss Prism: No married man is ever attractive except to his wife.
Chasuble: And often, I've been told, not even to her.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
More marriages are ruined nowadays by the common sense of the husband than by anything else.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
My dear Count, for romantic young people like he is, the world always looks best at a distance.
VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS
My husband is a sort of promissory note; I'm tired of meeting him.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
My wife was very plain, never had my ruffs properly starched, and knew nothing of cookery.
THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Nothing ages a woman so rapidly as having married the general rule.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
On the whole, the great success of marriage in the States is due, partly to the fact that no American man is ever idle, and partly to the fact that no American wife is considered responsible for the quality of her husband's dinners.
THE AMERICAN MAN
One should always be in love. This is the reason one should never marry.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.
THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE
So much marriage is certainly not becoming. Twenty years of romance make a woman look like a ruin; but twenty years of marriage make her something like a public building.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
The amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous. It looks so bad. It is simply washing one's clean linen in public.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
The annoying thing is that the wretches can be perfectly happy without us. That is why I think it is every woman's duty never to leave them alone for a single moment, except during this short breathing space after dinner; without which, I believe, we poor women would be absolutely worn to shadows.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
The bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.
DE PROFUNDIS
The happiness of a married man. . . depends on the people he has not married.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
The Ideal Husband? There couldn't be such a thing. The institution is wrong.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
The Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat us as if we were children. He should refuse all our serious requests, and gratify every one of our whims. He should encourage us to have caprices, and forbid us to have missions. He should always say much more than he means, and always mean much more than he says.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
The proper basis for marriage is a mutual misunderstanding.
LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME
The real draw-back to marriage is that it makes one unselfish. And unselfish people are colourless. They lack individuality.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
The worst of having a romance of any kind is that it leaves one so unromantic.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
There's nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It's a thing no married man knows anything about.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love; it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other's characters before marriage, which I think is never advisable.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
What a silly thing love is! It is not half as useful as logic, for it does not prove anything and it is always telling one things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true.
THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE
When a woman marries again it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
When one is in love one begins by deceiving oneself. And one ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.
A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Who on earth writes to him on pink paper? How silly to write on pink paper! It looks like the beginning of a middle-class romance. Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.
AN IDEAL HUSBAND
You don't seem to realise, that in married life three is company and two is none.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
You seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
You talk as if you had a heart. Women like you have no hearts. Heart is not in you. You are bought and sold.
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
You want a new excitement, Prince. Let me see - you have been married twice already; suppose you try falling in love for once.
VERA, OR THE NIHILISTS

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