Give a detailed account of the character of Lord Darlington in the play.
I think that life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.
Lord Darlington plays the role of a casanova or a Victorian dandy who later transforms into a sentimentalized romanticist. Lord Darlington is one of the first characters to be introduced to us in the play. His thinly veiled hints at Lord Winderemere's affair with Mrs. Erlynne sets the stage for the furthur revealation by the Duchess of Berwick. In the first two Acts Darlington appears to us a self-confessed rogue:
Don't say that, Duchess. As a wicked man I am a complete failure. Why, there are lots of people who say I have never really done anything wrong in the whole course of my life. Of course they only say it behind my back.
He flirts unashamedly with the married Lady Winderemere and at first glance it seems that his sole aim is to change her hard and rigid views on life and he wants to woo her just for the challenge of the task of courting a Puritan. In the second Act this is light flirting gives way to a passionate declaration of love, and in the third act we as the audience are surprised to learn that he had in reality held feelings for Lady Windermere. In this act he sheds off his role as a dandy and transforms into a sentimentalist, a role which does not suit him as well as the former. All in all, Lord darlington acts as a catalyst to most of the play's events.