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An Ideal Husband

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  29,304 Ratings  ·  657 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
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Paperback, 78 pages
Published February 5th 2001 by Dover Publications (first published April 1st 1893)
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Monique It's also part of the humor. Lord Caversham calling his son that shows his indignation and disapproval on what his son is (or is not) doing (by not…moreIt's also part of the humor. Lord Caversham calling his son that shows his indignation and disapproval on what his son is (or is not) doing (by not referring to him as his son, or in some familiar, loving way was they usually did then). When Lord Goring replies back to his father with "Lord Caversham" it reaffirms their "strained" relationship, and besides, it's funny. (less)
Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareWaiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Best Plays Ever
42nd out of 659 books — 837 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Books of the 19th Century
144th out of 897 books — 4,935 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Vane J.
Jul 01, 2015 Vane J. rated it really liked it
I'm going to say this for the millionth time: Oscar Wilde is a freaking genius. Everything he writes is pure gold. I love his sense of humour, and his writing. He was a great man (treated badly by the society in which he lived) and a great writer too. I wish I could let him know that.

This play was as foolish as the previous one I read, and even when I enjoyed that one more, this one was good all the same. The plot follows some particular characters that are all married or being proposed marriage
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Emily Snyder
Oct 16, 2011 Emily Snyder rated it it was amazing
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
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Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
Review to come when I figure out whether or not this is as ragingly sexist as I think it might be.
Soumen Daschoudhury
Jul 17, 2014 Soumen Daschoudhury rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Edlira Dibrani
Jul 18, 2016 Edlira Dibrani rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I LOVE READING OSCAR WILDES BOOKS.

This one is actually amazing <3 I quite enjoy reading his books. And this was beyond amazing.

``Mrs.Cheveley:Ah! the strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analysed, women . . . merely adored.``

``Lord Goring: I love talking about nothing, father. It is the only thing I know anything about.``

``Lord Goring: Everything is dangerous, my dear fellow. If it wasnt so, life wouldnt be worth living.``

``Lady Chiltern: And h
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El
Jul 27, 2012 El rated it really liked it
(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
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David Lentz
Jun 20, 2011 David Lentz rated it it was amazing
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
Jonathan
Mar 27, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it
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.
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Jared
Jul 13, 2010 Jared rated it it was ok
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
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Mohammed
Aug 17, 2014 Mohammed rated it really liked it
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
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Suzanne
Dec 14, 2015 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
SO many great quotes are in this play - I enjoyed it tremendously and it made me wish I were a lot more witty.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
Kelly
Jun 01, 2007 Kelly rated it really liked it
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!
Catalina
Aug 31, 2015 Catalina rated it liked it
All is good that ends well. A typical comedy comprising both language humour and situational humour. The brilliancy of this short play doesn't come from the story itself, but from the content, dialogues and morals/ethics contained in it.
Let's start with the beginning, shall we?! Take one piece of the ol' Victorian era: “Oh, I love London Society! I think it has immensely improved. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be.” (Doesn't th
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Terry
Dec 02, 2015 Terry rated it really liked it
Reading Oscar Wilde is like sipping good champagne - light, witty, sparkling & timeless! I would love to sit between Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen at a dinner party...
Amber
Mar 30, 2016 Amber rated it really liked it
I love Oscar Wilde's work
Yngvild
Jun 03, 2010 Yngvild rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
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
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Rupa
Jan 14, 2016 Rupa rated it really liked it
To write a play that is packed with wit, sarcasm, philosophy, and genuine entertainment - all in less than 100 pages, requires nothing less than a genius. Wilde was a genius after all. I had my share of laugh while reading it, but this play is more than plain humour - it is very amusing and thought provoking. How many times do I get to read something that cracks me up and has lines like “It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage ...more
Tom
Nov 05, 2012 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous, classics, play
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
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Carmen
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Another thoroughly enchanting story by Wilde. A politician is blackmailed by a woman who knows he sold government secrets in the past. His wife is hard on people who have done wrong. He is terrified she will find out. Should he give in to the blackmail? Another reminder from Wilde that people are complex and should not be pigeonholed. A happy ending, as well, with everyone ending up more intelligent than when they started.
Selah
Jan 18, 2016 Selah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The smaller cast of characters made this play much easier to follow. Yeardley Smith was perfect as Mabel! I must watch the film version on Netflix. Still, I haven't found a Wilde play to compare with Earnest yet.
Elinor Dashwood
Apr 12, 2015 Elinor Dashwood rated it really liked it
I always enjoy reading Oscar Wilde, his stories are witty, satirical, intricate, and ridiculous. An ideal Husband is no exception. There is so much going on but somehow Wilde wraps it all up in a happy ending.
Lyra  Goga
Jul 02, 2016 Lyra Goga rated it it was amazing
Mr.Wilde is briillianttt!! Even if his works made no sense and had no plot whatsoever I would still read him because I'm in love with the way he uses language.
Alan
Jul 17, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it
I saw this play in London in the 90s, and I seem to recall Judi Dench in it, but maybe that's because of the film version she was in. Maybe it was Peter Hall's version with Anna Cateret. (As I recall, it was Theatre Royal Haymarket.) Because my familiarity arises from seeing the pay, not reading it, I withheld star. Turns out, Ms Dench also avoids reading plays completely in order to push her rehearsal performance.
It struck me as better than Importance in the depth of character. I'm not sure wh
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Alan
Oct 28, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it
When it comes down to wit and comedy, this play is absolutely faultless. In every spread, you will find at least one line of absolute magic, too many to name in this review.

However, the play does have a darker side. I found Goring's closing speech to Lady Chiltern to be most affective in affirming the patriarchal views of Victorian England. It is for this reason that you cannot see the ending as necessarily 'happy.' I believe you are meant to dislike Robert Chiltern as much as Cheveley. Both us
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Eirene
Oct 13, 2012 Eirene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: list-for-2013
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
Ari
Aug 16, 2013 Ari rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
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Marialyce
Jul 15, 2012 Marialyce rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, july-2012
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
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Versha
Jul 25, 2013 Versha rated it really liked it
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
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Lau
Mar 18, 2016 Lau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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Nitya Sivasubramanian
The challenge in enjoying The Importance of Being Earnest lies in enjoying the perfection of imperfect people. In An Ideal Husband, the challenge lies in reveling in the imperfections of perfect people.

I start with that sentence because unfortunately Earnest is so memorably engraved into my soul that I cannot read Wilde without attempting to compare. However, when I manage to detangle for a second, it's glaringly obvious how much style and wit go into every line in this play as well. Filled wit
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Are Any of Oscar Wilde's Works Not Plays??? 8 59 Oct 15, 2013 07:23AM  
Bookoholics: An Ideal Husband - Oscar Wilde 6 7 Jul 19, 2013 11:36AM  
  • Major Barbara
  • She Stoops to Conquer
  • The Real Inspector Hound
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Private Lives
  • The School for Scandal
  • The Lion in Winter
  • You Can't Take it With You
  • The Country Wife
  • Uncle Vanya
  • The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • The History Boys
  • Amadeus
  • Edward II
  • Translations
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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
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“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” 2794 likes
“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.” 1937 likes
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