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An Ideal Husband

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  22,463 ratings  ·  447 reviews
Although Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) created a wide range of poetry, essays, and fairy tales (and one novel) in his brief, tragic life, he is perhaps best known as a dramatist. His witty, clever drama, populated by brilliant talkers skilled in the art of riposte and paradox, are still staples of the theatrical repertoire.
An Ideal Husband revolves around a blackmail scheme that...more
Paperback, 78 pages
Published February 5th 2001 by Dover Publications (first published 1895)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeMacbeth by William ShakespeareRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareA Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Best Plays Ever
41st out of 513 books — 660 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Best Books of the 19th Century
147th out of 596 books — 3,317 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cheryl
"It is not the perfect, but the imperfect who have need of love. It is when we are wounded by our own hands, or by the hands of others, that love should come to cure us-else what use is love at all?"
Oscar Wilde

Is the sentiment about Sir Robert Chiltern, a character in the play with a past secret, or is the author proposing a change in thinking prior to society's knowledge of his secret affair? Work on AN IDEAL HUSBAND began in the early 1890's and opened to positive reviews and corresponding at...more
Soumen Daschoudhury
Jul 17, 2014 Soumen Daschoudhury rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves satire
I have been grinning all through the reading of this play! If there is a definition of satire, this has to be it (forgive me my ignorance of not having read more of this kind). I have always respected sarcasm because it is one of the wittiest forms of intelligence and if I may take the liberty to say so, a remedy to the plain and dull way of general life. And Oscar Wilde immerses you in it, completely, and you would rather choke on the drollness of his language than struggle to breathe the unem...more
Emily Snyder
When the name "Oscar Wilde" is brought into company, most people immediately think of "The Importance of Being Earnest," or "That fellow who was so witty," or "Oh, wasn't he really, really gay?"

What most people DON'T seem to think of is that Wilde's work was far from trifling (Earnest), more than witty, and often centered quite firmly around the difficulties of heterosexual relationships.

"An Ideal Husband" is a comedy. It's important to remember that when watching recent versions which like to...more
El
(Read as part of the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde.)

One of my bigger problems in life is the inability to read certain texts I know have been turned into movies starring Rupert Everett and not picture him as the star as I read. It's Rupert Everett 24/7 in my head. It's to the point now where even the Oscar Wilde plays I read that weren't turned into Rupert Everett movies are unable to be read without imagining Rupert Everett. I'm broken inside!

However, if you've seen the movie and you've read th...more
Jonathan
While this was an excellent play as with all of Wilde's work I found myself again beaten by Wilde at his best. And what I mean there is that I basically found that this was not Wilde's best work and that as a result compared to The Importance of Being Earnest it fell a little flat.

Oscar Wilde's best work for me has always been highlighted by his dazzling wit and brilliant comedy lines. You cannot go past the scene in The Importance of Being Earnest where Algernon is eating muffins for instance....more
Mohammed
لا تحسبن خطيئة الماضي جثة أنت دافنها، فالموتى لا يعودون، لكن شبح الذنب يطاردك حتى الممات.

الزوج المثالي، هي من أطول مسرحيات أوسكار وايلد وأكثرها نضجا. بينما يتأهب السيد تشيلترن لقطف ثمار مسيرته السياسية، يتعرض لابتزاز شنيع من قبل سيدة لا تتواني عن ارتكاب الموبقات في سبيل طموحها. يغدو تشيلترن في موقف لا يحسد عليه: إما أن يخسر منصبه وزوجته ومكانته الاجتماعية، أو يخسر ماتبقى من شرفه وأمانته. كالعادة، يصوغ وايلد الموقف ببراعة، مع بعض التشويق والحوارات الأخلاقية.

إلى جانب العقدة الرئيسية، تزخر المسرحية...more
David Lentz
Surely, this is one of the most hilarious comedies ever written by anyone. Every page of the script offers up lines of pure, gracefully articulate wit. Wilde's insight is prodigious and relevant as it could have been written as easily about Wall Street as London of 1895: "Private information is practically the source of every large modern fortune." This is the playwright who, when passing through customs into Canada, was asked if he had anything to declare and replied, "Only my genius." The movi...more
Marialyce
Oscar Wilde does seemed to have had an seemingly endless amounts of witticisms coupled with lots of common sense. In this play, he again shows his uncanny ability to ferret out truth and apply the everyday ideas of what makes sense in the happenings of people and their relationships to one another. I always so enjoy his dedication to the concept of truth winning out in the end.

In this play, Wilde again presents us with the upper crust of society and shows it produced the very good along with th...more
Tom
I liked "An Ideal Husband" the best of Oscar Wilde's Society Comedies. He managed to continue his skewering of London society, and of the rich and aristocratic. What shines here, though, is that the characters are beautifully drawn, and the dialogue is funny, but without losing its purpose.

I like how the characters with the most pristine character--Lord Robert and Lady Gertrude--are the ones who find themselves most embroiled in scandal, while the most vapid bon vivant (Lord Goring) ends up show...more
Laura
The unprincipled Mrs Cheveley threatens to reveal Sir Robert Chiltern's secret past unless he agrees to give his support in Parliament to a questionable Argentinian venture. Faced with ruin in the eyes of the country and his wife, he seems to have no alternative. Wildean wit and the elegance of English society is woven into this classic drama.

The movie is available at You Tube.
Yngvild
The genius of An Ideal Husband is that Oscar Wilde breaks every convention of a standard morality tale, and leaves the audience convinced that they have spent a light-hearted, uplifting evening.

During the space of 24 hours, the main characters’ lives are thrown up into the air, tossed about, and land – exactly where they started. Even their self-regard and philosophies of life remain the same. The puritanical, clueless wife still has to be fed her lines by a family friend. Her purpose in life is...more
Ari
IQ Lord Goring: "'I quite agree with you, father. If there was less sympathy in the world there would be less trouble in the world'
Lord Caversham: 'That is a paradox, sir. I hate paradoxes'
Lord Goring: 'So do I, father. everybody one meets is a paradox nowadays. It is a great bore. It makes society so obvious'" Act III

My second-favorite of the Society Comedies, I love that it went for a political scandal which seems especially appropriate and relevant to our (my) time. Plus it has a plethora o...more
Varsha
It was a quick read like a splash of cold water on the face!! May be because the title ‘An ideal husband’ is an irony in itself compared to the kind of story Oscar Wilde has portrayed here in this book, because the truth he unfolds throughout and the insight that he gives in this play clearly challenges the existence of a ‘ideal husband’ or rather an ‘ideal person’.

Lady Chiltern thinks highly of her husband Sir Robert Chiltern. But as soon as she learns that the money and the status that he has...more
Lau

Oscar Wilde es uno de mis autores preferidos y es por eso que no importa lo corto o largo que sea, el argumento, o lo que puedan decir sus personajes, no voy a ser ni un poquitito objetiva.

De todos modos esta es realmente una historia corta. Comienza en una fiesta de la alta sociedad londinense donde se alternan y entrecruzan varias conversaciones, todas arrebatadas de ironía y humor ácido. Algo muy particular que me llamó la atención -y me gustó mucho- es que para describir a los personajes se...more
Jared
Having seen versions of The Importance of Being Earnest, this book was a big disappointment. Oscar Wilde tries to tackle some heavier material, with very mixed results. There were still a few moments of humor in the play, but they were very infrequent and not nearly as funny as Earnest.

Wilde did a reasonably good job presenting his main thesis, that people need to support and love each other even though they are imperfect, but the dialogue was rather heavy-handed -- preachy -- and he completely...more
Joy H.
Apr 09, 2011 Joy H. marked it as watched-film-only
_An Ideal Husband_ (1895) by Oscar Wilde
Added 4/9/11.
Did not read. Watched film in August 2010. Gave it 4 Netflix stars out of 5.
FILM: 'An Ideal Husband" (1999):
Stars: Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore and Peter Vaughan
http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/An_...
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0122541/
"Another of Wilde's social satires, 'An Ideal Husband' revolves around the lives of two men, successful political figure Sir Robert Chiltern and his friend the uninspired but utterly charming Lord Arthur Go...more
Emadeddin
description
Now I can give a little info to anyone who didn't read anything for Wilde: If you read his only novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" first, then you won't like any of his other works!!

As for me, Dorian Gray was the best, and I feel it's very hard for me to love any other Wilde-work more than it.

An Ideal Husband is very good though. I recommend it. And I recommend anything written by Wilde cuz he has that unique ability to draw your full attention. It's magic.
Kelly
Jun 01, 2007 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all Wilde fans
Oscar Wilde, at the height of his powers. It's Earnest, but more evil, and with more pointed social commentary. I can resist anything but temptation... by Oscar Wilde. And this play is among the reasons why.

It's a quick, fun introduction to Wilde and the time period. I recommend it!
Marta Olesnevych
Quotes:

"An aquaintance that begins with a compliment is sure to develop into a real friendship"

"...the strength of a woman comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analysed, women...merely adored"

"I love talking about nothing..it is the only thing I know anything about"

"I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself"

"...she wore far too much rouge last night, and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despa...more
Eirene
This is the play that introduced me to Oscar Wilde's plays. I had been familiar with The Picture of Dorian Gray, but not his plays. Upon re-reading this one, I love it all the more. Wilde has such ability to juxtapose wit and humor with true feelings of nobility and honor. He conveys the depth of character perfectly, and I greatly admire the importance which he places on his sense of justice, which is inherently rooted in a quality of mercy and truth. Lord Goring is my ideal man in so many ways....more
Rowland Bismark
With respect to historical context, Wilde wrote An Idea Husband during the decade known as the "Yellow" or "Naughty Nineties", the twilight years of England's Victorian era. In schematic terms, this period was distinguished by England's growth as an industrial and imperial giant and an increasingly conservatism in social mores. Imperial expansion, foreign speculation, and the period's rigid system of mores--involving, for example, notions of familial devotion, propriety, and duty both public and...more
Balam Abello
Usually, I do a book or a movie review on something that I read or watched recently. Today, I will do both of them at the same time. An Ideal Husband is an 1895 comedy play by one of my favorite authors, Oscar Wilde. The movie is a… fairly faithful adaptation. Released in 1999 and directed by Oliver Parker, it has a magnificent cast: Rupert Everett, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam and Minnie Driver amongst others.

The four act play, like many of Wilde’s other works, is witty and ir...more
Rachel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katharina
I think I have a new imaginary BFF. How awesome is Lord Goring? I mean, seriously? He's got the most brilliant lines EVER. I'm so jealous of Miss Mable. Soo jealous. *sigh*

An Ideal Husband is like an accumulation of clever and witty lines put into one highly entertaining story. I'm sure, this story tells you much about upper-class life in London at the end of the 19th century, but, honestly, I don't care a bit. It's just so incredibly brilliant and funny to read, I need no further intellectual r...more
earthy
Wilde's brilliance is in his snarky dialogue and unfailingly snide social commentary. I figured it was about time I actually read this one, since I've seen the movie version several times and loved it. The play is a quick, delightful read, though the Bigger Issue At Hand (idolizing people instead of loving them, faults and all) gets a bit buried under all the cleverness and societal shenanigans. I was also extremely disappointed with Gertrude's last monologue, which, while it's basically just pa...more
Shriya
Sep 03, 2011 Shriya rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shriya by: Gayatri
Really, only one point (and that was presence of too many characters with similar names in Act I) made me give it a four on five. Other than that, An Ideal Husband is the ideal play to be read. A lot of your prejudices are shattered once you read it, the chief being the search of an ideal man. In the form of Lord Goring and Lord Chiltern, Wilde demolishes the model of The Perfect Man which writers like Jane Austen had erected in their novels and brings forth a hero who is just as gullible, j...more
Gorfo
Dec 26, 2011 Gorfo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Gorfo by: Ana
Oscar Wilde has yet to disappoint me. An Ideal Husband is a sneakingly critical look at the time that pokes fun at high society. It follows the possible fall and rise of Sir Robert Chiltern and his wife, Lady Gertrude Chiltren as they struggle to bury the past and keep themselves free of scandal. But everybody has a weakness and soon enough somebody finds that weakness out and uses it. (view spoiler)...more
Merry
Sep 27, 2009 Merry rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Wilde fans, Sherlock Holmes fans
Recommended to Merry by: self
I like Oscar Wilde's writing, it is simple yet interesting, not overly detailed, it just delivers the message. He is good at conversations, just as he was in life I suppose. The characters have a lot to say, and they are clear in thought. It is funny how little things have changed over the years. A lot of husband and wife bantering, the usual arguments about morals and values, the mention of women's rights and education, and even insider trading on the stock market, all delivered with wit.

"It i...more
Arushi Kapoor
Most charming play I ever read. Especially the wildly amusing tête-à-tête between Mabel and Lord Goring. I disliked how Lady Chiltern who is so incorruptible and honest a woman would overlook her husband's moral flaws and forgive him so easily.
Gilgamesh  Nabeel

An acquaintance that begins with a compliment is sure to develop into a real friendship.

Optimism begins in a broad grin, and pessimism ends with blue spectacles.

The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women merely adored.

All reasons are absurd.

A genius in the daytime and a beauty at night.

A man who allows himself to be convinced by an argument is a thoroughly unreasonable person.

In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good pla...more
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Are Any of Oscar Wilde's Works Not Plays??? 8 57 Oct 15, 2013 07:23AM  
  • The Happy Prince
  • Arms and the Man
  • The Lion in Winter
  • Private Lives
  • She Stoops to Conquer
  • Amadeus
  • Arcadia
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • The Three Sisters
  • The History Boys
  • The School for Scandal
  • You Can't Take it With You
  • The Odd Couple
  • Sylvia's Lovers
  • Edward II
  • The Duchess of Malfi
3565
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being E...more
More about Oscar Wilde...
The Picture of Dorian Gray The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays   The Canterville Ghost The Happy Prince

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“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” 2399 likes
“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.” 1678 likes
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