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An Ideal Husband

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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 forces a married couple to reexamine their moral standards — providing, along the way, a wry commentary on the rarity of politicians who can claim to be ethically pure. A supporting cast of young lovers, society matrons, an overbearing father, and a formidable femme fatale continually exchange sparkling repartee, keeping the play moving at a lively pace.
Like most of Wilde's plays, this scintillating drawing-room comedy is wise, well-constructed, and deeply satisfying. An instant success at its 1895 debut, the play continues to delight audiences over one hundred years later. An Ideal Husband is a must-read for Wilde fans, students of English literature, and anyone delighted by wit, urbanity, and timeless sophistication.

78 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 1893

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About the author

Oscar Wilde

4,209 books32.6k followers
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 Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain, and died in poverty.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,490 reviews
November 25, 2022
This play belonging to the 1890s depicts the hypocritical aristocratic group of people from London. It in all perceptibility and plausibility delineates that the concept of “an ideal husband” is just a misnomer 😊It is just titular! Women end up idolizing their husbands, silhouetting them in an image which they never adhere to, turning out to be mere impostors! :P

The play divulges themes of public and private honor, social status, while using mediums of blackmailing and political-social corruption! The other two most important themes are marriage as an institution and the power of forgiveness in it. Why and who forgives is the question.

Robert Chiltern (the ideal husband), working as Under-Secretary of the Foreign Affairs office is enjoying a perfect marriage and social image. Is he or is he not? That’s the question 😊


Spread across 4 acts, the following is a spoiler-free abridged synopsis-
The play opens with an alluring couple of significant wealth, stature, accomplishment, and respect among the elite in London, the Chilterns!
The alluring and sophisticated, Mrs. Cheveley’s arrival brings trouble for Robert. She is carrying a secret letter as evidence of his past perfidy with the government. In stipulation(for concealing his truth) she wants him to get the government into an agreement to a building plan for Argentina, which in turn will shower money on her!

Lady Chiltern, his wife, emanating out Greek beauty, advising him not to fall victim to the blackmailing, is informed by Mrs. Cheveley, that Robert once had sold a govt. the secret to a businessman for money and the same secret is revealed in the secret letter. Robert and his wife’s good friend, Lord Goring(another character), is in love with Robert’s sister, Mabel. Though finally, they are able to get back the letter, by plotting, Lady Chiltern can no longer consider her husband to be honest. Meanwhile, amidst all this confusion, Lady Cheveley ends up stealing the secret letter sent to Lord Goring by Lady Chiltern, considering it to be a love letter addressed to him. Irrespective of the husband’s lies, Lady Chiltern is forced to forgive him. But has she or not? To know more, read the play.

The most remarkable feature of the play is, we cannot point fingers on one particular character for hypocrisy and double-standards, as most of the characters in the play conspire to bury Robert’s secret! Just to save his fake reputation.

I give 3.75 stars to this play on social satire with deep political undertones!

The 2 outstanding derivations for me-

1. It is sad to see the kind of wealth amassed by the smug political figures at the cost of the ignorant public. Irrespective of their hideous crimes, concealing them, they keep strutting through lives guileless and without any compunction. They have no moral scruples!
2. Must say it is not geography- specific, that women go onto idolising their male partners. Lady Chiltern took her husband as a paragon of morality and virtue, until she finally finds out that he is a part of a past scandalous secret! Will she still keep idolising him and forgive him? Well, many would have conjectured by now, but the plight is it was, has been and continue to be so

Sharing few remarkable quotes in no particular order-
“Mine is the general rule, and nothing ages a woman so rapidly as having married the general rule. “
“I would to God that I had been able to tell the truth . . . to live the truth. Ah! that is the great thing in life, to live the truth.”
“Circumstances should never alter principles!”
“Ah! the strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analyzed, women . . . merely adored.”
Lady Chiltern- “You can forget. Men easily forget. And I forgive. That is how women help the world. I see that now.”
“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?”
“ But women who have common sense are so curiously plain, father, aren't they? Of course, I only speak from hearsay.”

The 2 most remarkable superlatives in my purview are:-

“Women are not meant to judge us, but to forgive us when we need forgiveness. Pardon, not punishment, is their mission.”
“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.”

NB- I wish all of us to contemplate, does money, status, social standing, and accomplishments bring along moral scruples and fidelity or further deteriorate them. Is it a factor to be considered or is it simply the breeding and grooming one receives, that decides one’s moral virtues?
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
November 13, 2019
An Ideal Husband is an 1895 play by Oscar Wilde, his third most popular work after The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. In it Wilde explores hypocrisy, corruption, forgiveness and other themes with his trademark epigrammatic humor.

to love oneself

Sir Robert Chiltern, a moral, upstanding politician (pause while I take a moment to ponder whether there is such a thing), has a lovely young wife who idealizes him. But Sir Robert turns out to have a major skeleton in his closet: Many years ago, at the start of his political career, he sold a state secret about the Suez Canal in an insider trading sort of deal, and used that money to make his fortune and jumpstart his career. Now Mrs. Cheveley, an old classmate of his wife (who his wife detests), turns up at a party the Chilterns are hosting, blackmailing Sir Robert into publicly supporting a fraudulent scheme to build a canal in Argentina. It's one canal for another, she tells him.

Meanwhile the Chilterns' bachelor friend, Lord Goring, is flirting with Mabel Chiltern, Sir Robert's sister.

Luckily for the frantic Sir Robert and his morally inflexible wife, Lord Goring also has some wise advice to dispense to all and sundry, along with a few other tricks up his sleeve.

An Ideal Husband isn't as hilariously witty as The Importance of Being Earnest, but it has a little more meat to it. There's a lesson here about how imperfect people still deserve love.


You can almost hear Wilde pleading for people to have more tolerance and forgiveness for his own still-hidden-but-beginning-to-fray gay lifestyle. But he makes his moral lesson go down easily, with lots of very funny and very quotable lines. A few sample quotes:
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

Talks more and says less than anybody I ever met. She is made to be a public speaker.

You see, it is a very dangerous thing to listen. If one listens one may be convinced; and a man who allows himself to be convinced by an argument is a thoroughly unreasonable person.

Lord Goring: I am going to give you some good advice.
Mrs. Cheveley: Oh! pray don't. One should never give a woman anything that she can't wear in the evening.

I don't like principles, father. I prefer prejudices.
There are a few eyebrow-raisingly dated lines here as well (the worst is: "A man's life is of more value than a woman's. It has larger issues, wider scope, greater ambitions. A women's life revolves around curves of emotions."). It's pretty infrequent, and is probably just a reflection of Victorian times, though I have to wonder whether Oscar Wilde was just playing with his audience's expectations. But other than those couple of needle-scratch moments, this is a very amusing play that gives us some great food for thought about relationships and forgiveness.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,865 reviews69.2k followers
December 29, 2022
Don't put your partner on a pedestal.
That's really the first mistake you make in a relationship.
Except for those people who write jailhouse love letters to serial killers. But that's a whole nother level of mistake and Wilde didn't cover it in this particular play.


Ok, so if you don't already know, the gist is that an unscrupulous woman, Mrs. Cheveley, has come into the possession of a letter that Sir Robert Chiltern had written decades ago when he was in his early 20s. He was a poor clerk who sold the knowledge of the government's impending purchase of Suez Canal Company to a rich man who paid him for the information. This was the seed money that all of his wealth. And because of that wealth - political power. For all intents and purposes, he's been a very scrupulous politician ever since then. So when Mrs. Cheveley tells him that he must throw his support behind a fraudulent scheme to build a canal in Argentina (that she has heavily invested in), he balks.
However, with the threat of exposure hanging over his head, he initially eventually gives in.
But not just to save his career.


Sir Robert loves his wife, Lady Chiltern, but she has based her love of him on this ideal that he represents to her. She loves him because he is so far above all other men and their weaknesses. And if his honesty and morality turn out to be less lofty than she thought, he feels he will lose her love altogether.
So with the help of his best friend, the fashionably aimless Lord Goring, he tries to decide how to dig himself out of this mess.


This is a comedy, so naturally there are several crazypants events that happen to all of the characters to make sure that everything eventually pans out. <--for everyone except the nasty Mrs. Cheveley. Because she's just a bitch.
I was surprised at how serious the undertone was in this one. I mean there really is a clear moral to the story in this one.
BUT ALSO CUTE ROMANCE! <--so don't worry that you'll have to learn too much stuff if you read this thing.


I'm pretty sure I've read this one before, but I truly appreciated this L.A. Theatre Works production this time around. The excellent voice cast and sound effects made it easy to close your eyes and imagine you were sitting in a theater as part of the audience.
I would highly recommend giving this edition a whirl!
Profile Image for Piyangie.
509 reviews391 followers
August 2, 2022
This was my first read of an Oscar Wilde work, and I immediately fell in love with him. When I first read it, it was a great read. But when I returned to it three years later I realized that "great" is an understatement. It is simply brilliant. There is ample wit, sarcasm, and humor. But underneath the message conveyed is thought-provoking.

Oscar Wild is realistic in his observance of humans and his exposure of human follies in the face of power and wealth. He exposes both black and white sides of ambition, showing to what extent one would be driven under its spell. Wild mocks the society for strictly categorizing men and women as good or bad and proceeding to idolize them as perfect or shun them as wicked. He is sarcastic about this strict division imposed by the upper-class society of his day. Wild shows through his words of wisdom that no human is without fault. None is perfect. There are both black and white in us humans. It is the degree which either makes us good or bad. Wild also proceeds to show the importance of accepting the faults and forgiving, probably in reference to himself.

This second reading showed me how amazingly Oscar Wild has made this straightforward idea into a complex play. The plot is quite simple but it undergoes a couple of intense plot twists, keeping the reader full of suspense. The read is very engaging from its first dialogue and hard to put down. I was determined to read it slow this time allowing myself enough time to delve into it more fully, but it was a painfully hard job.

To say a few words on the characters, I enjoyed the serious, the gossiping, the mocking while loving the satire of Lord Goring and youthful, careless energy of Mabel Chiltern and their light banter. It made the play even more interesting.

This is so far the best Oscar Wild play that I've read and probably my favourite one. I recently read Lady Winderemere's Fan (which I really liked) and felt that it is my favourite, but after this reread I'm very sure that this is my favourite play by Oscar Wild.
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews597 followers
July 1, 2015
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. It involves some blackmailing and more witty comments about the Victorian society.

I laughed out loud with this play a lot. You would not believe how red my face was after so much laughing. Seriously, it was ridiculous. I can't even. But that's great. It says a lot about an author who wrote a comedy for people a century back that can make a teenage girl in the 21st century have so much fun with one of his works. It screams brilliant all over the way.

Anyway, I wanted to keep this review short because 1) I want you to experience this for yourself without me spoiling any details, and 2) because I have an enormous list of quotes.

If you have not read this, I don't know what you have been doing with your life. Read this ASAP because Wilde is, not joking, one of my favourite authors (and not only mine but of many more people too).

Now, here's the obligatory list of quotes:

LADY BASILDON: Ah! I hate being educated!

MRS. MARCHMONT: So do I. It puts one almost on a level with the commercial classes, doesn't it?

My laughter could not be contained after reading that.

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.

See why I love his sense of humour?

Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.

I agree.

You see, it is a very dangerous thing to listen. If one listens one may be convinced; and a man who allows himself to be convinced by an argument is a thoroughly unreasonable person.

I think I read something similar to that in another book.

Oh, I like tedious, practical subjects. What I don't like are tedious, practical people.

Me neither.

Every man of ambition has to fight his century with its own weapons. What this century worships is wealth. The God of this century is wealth. To succeed one must have wealth. At all costs one must have wealth.

After more than one hundred years, this still applies to nowadays society.

I am always saying what I shouldn't say. In fact, I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.

If Wilde knew how many times I have thought that...

It is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have need of love.



Told you it was an enormous list of quotes, didn't I?

P.S.: I've now made it my new goal to read all of his works this year. First Shakespeare, now Oscar Wilde. Here we go! And fyi, I have not finished my Shakespeare challenge yet, but who cares? I got this new obsession and I will not stay calm until I read all of Wilde's books.
Profile Image for Steven Godin.
2,319 reviews2,195 followers
December 20, 2017
The first positive thing I can say about Wilde's 'An Ideal Husband' is that it includes such grand descriptive details that for the most part, I could almost hear an imaginary audience praising him under their breaths. This play, first performed in 1899, was a joyous and light read, full of fancy frocks and plush behaviour but also weighed down with the problem of misogyny, with several references to male superiority. It was a time when being a woman came with many pitfalls, I felt for them back then, sadly still do now, in the 21st century. To think out there, right now, they still have to put up with this shit. Deplorable!. Anyway, onto the play...

In essence, this is a keyhole view of a high society grappling with the notions of what a marriage stands for, featuring deep characters that feel truly believable, it opens with a dinner party held in London's fashionable Grosvenor Square by House of Commons member Sir Robert Chiltern, the gathering includes his wife, Gertrude, friend Lord Goring and others. There is a blackmail incident, involving a Mrs Cheveley, who knows some dodgy things about Sir Robert's past to do with a Cabinet secret. A problematic situation takes shape. For Lady Chiltern, their marriage is predicated on her having an "ideal husband"—that is, a model spouse in both private and public life that she can worship. Robert has a dilemma, does he remain truthful to his wife, and tell of his guilt?.

Poor old Robert is eventualy exposed by Mrs Cheveley, his wife then denounces her husband and refuses to forgive him. From here on in, cue womanizing, political corruption, the resurfacing of a diamond brooch that comes into play, complications arising from a note found leading to thoughts of an affair , plus a Vengeful act out to destroy. But fear not, there is happy ending!.

Many of the themes where influenced by the situation Wilde found himself in during the early 1890s, regarding his own fears and stressing the need to be forgiven of past sins, and the irrationality of ruining lives of great value to society because of people's hypocritical reactions to those sins. Also, the position of women in society was criticised by theatre analysers as overt sexism, easy to see why, after it's disclosed "A man's life is of more value than a woman's." There is also an expression of anti-upper class sentiments, on behalf of most of the characters, where the overall portrayal displays an attitude of hypocrisy and strict observance of silly little rules that needn't apply.

A humorous read it was, but still carried with it serious undertones. No doubts this worked wonders on the stage. Very good.
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews397 followers
February 6, 2017
It's a delight to read Wilde's plays, clever and witty, and by all accounts people flocked to the theater in his day to enjoy the fun. I hope a production of this one comes to my town someday, I would love to see it. Very entertaining read, right up there with Earnest.
Profile Image for Tahera.
546 reviews222 followers
April 22, 2020
"There was your mistake. There was your error.  The error all women commit.  Why can’t you women love us, faults and all?  Why do you place us on monstrous pedestals?  We have all feet of clay, women as well as men; but when we men love women, we love them knowing their weaknesses, their follies, their imperfections, love them all the more, it may be, for that reason.  It is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have need of love. A man’s love is like that.  It is wider, larger, more human than a woman’s.  Women think that they are making ideals of men.  What they are making of us are false idols merely.  You made your false idol of me, and I had not the courage to come down, show you my wounds, tell you my weaknesses.  I was afraid that I might lose your love, as I have lost it now.  And so, last night you ruined my life for me—yes, ruined it! 
Let women make no more ideals of men! Let them not put them on alters and bow before them, or they may ruin other lives as completely as you—you whom I have so wildly loved—have ruined mine!"

My second play of Oscar Wilde and absolutely loved every second of listening to it! I loved this one even better than The Importance of being Earnest. I wanted to share more quotes but then I realised in doing so I would be sharing more than half of the play's text.

All I can say is read the play; you will not be disappointed. Oh and watch the movie too; you will not be disappointed 😁. Superb!
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
April 18, 2020
Since I had been seeking a few laughs and had gotten them from Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, I listened to an LA Theater Works production of the play that I had once seen on the stage and enjoyed many ears ago here in Chicago. This was my first time reading it, and thought it had a surprisingly sober dimension to it I hadn't expected it.

This play, first performed in 1899, features Sir Robert Chiltern and his wife, Gertrude, who sees her husband as entirely honorable, noble, ideal. Mrs. Cheveley disrupts what is a happy, light domestic scene with a blackmail proposition, based on her knowing something about Sir Robert's past, a youthful indiscretion, something that will bring down his political career. There are some double switches that take place to reveal that there is no perfect person, no "ideal," only the real, the flawed, the human.

What I know now is that Wilde couldn't only make a silly comedy, he wanted to make a point that revealed something about his own situation and similar situations, public criticism regarding "past sins," and the ruining of lives. The hypocrisy of the public's expectation for perfection from those in public life, including himself, that was his target. A fun play, a fine and clever skewering.
Profile Image for N.
22 reviews131 followers
August 29, 2021
A story about idealism. Although it seems like the real story is the impending scandal of Sir Robert Chiltern's corruption, Lady Chiltern and her naivete is really what becomes the center of our attention. A great comedy with some hard truths about the real world sprinkled in.
Profile Image for Connie G.
1,665 reviews440 followers
February 14, 2017
Manipulative Mrs Cheveley tries to blackmail Sir Robert Chiltern for a mistake he made as a young man. When his wife finds out, she cannot accept the fact that her husband has imperfections. Lady Chiltern had put him on a pedestal, but no man can be totally righteous. The play has some moments of villainy, levity, and misinterpreted events that lighten the serious themes of reputation, marriage, and forgiveness. The roles of men and women reflect the values of Victorian society.

Oscar Wilde is very talented at writing witty banter so reading the play was enjoyable, although a bit dated from a 21st Century viewpoint. It would be wonderful to see the play on stage, especially with the right actors playing the juicy roles of the evil Mrs Cheveley and the dandy Lord Goring.
Profile Image for Katie Lumsden.
Author 1 book2,704 followers
March 11, 2020
Really enjoyable. I do love Oscar Wilde's writing!
Profile Image for Jasmine.
103 reviews189 followers
December 5, 2016
3.5 stars
This wonderful play with gorgeous lines for Lord Goring would have been a solid four star read, were it not for the last couple of pages where Wilde spoilt it for me. Lord Goring, who in my view is the strongest representative of the author’s voice, fell back into a strongly conventional view of women’s place, without the slightest undertone of irony:

Lord Goring: "A man’s life is of more value than a woman’s. It has larger issues, wider scope, greater ambitions. A woman’s life revolves in curves of emotions. It is upon lines of intellect that a man’s life progresses.”(*)

Lady Chiltern: “A man’s life is of more value than a woman’s. It has larger issues, wider scope, greater ambitions. Our lives revolve in curves of emotions. It is upon lines of intellect that a man’s life progresses. I have just learnt this, and much else with it, from Lord Goring…”(**)

Richard Allen Cave’s explanatory notes in the Penguin Classics Edition The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays confirm my perception to some extent:

(*) “The whole speech has posed problems for some of Wilde’s critics because Lord Goring, whose words have until now sparkled with originality of thought and expression, seems to be offering a decidedly conventional view of woman’s place within marriage (and one that even in its expression draws heavily on the writings of John Ruskin).“

And he tries to console the modern reader:

(**) "Feminist and socialist critics alike have taken exception to this speech which represents Lady Chiltern as a kind of puppet programmed by Lord Goring. But this is to miss the careful structuring of the change that Lady’s Chiltern’s character undergoes during this act…”

Maybe I am overreacting, but after having read Lady Windermere's Fan and A Woman of No Importance which both have a slightly feminist undertone, I was not expecting this of Oscar Wilde – thus 3.5 stars, I’m afraid.
Profile Image for Gary.
934 reviews201 followers
August 28, 2019
My very favourite of Oscar Wilde's plays. Choc-a-bloc with wit, and humorous repartee, it also is an intriguing story, and fascinating to see how it plays out. No wonder it is still popular 112 years after is first produced with recent productions on video/DVD doing very well.

Member of Parliament Lord Robert Chiltern is blackmailed by the wicked Mrs. Cheverly, with a secret from his youth, leading to a crisis in his life, and in his marriage to the virtuous Lady Chiltern. It is up to his friend, the delightfully foppish Lord Goring to help extricate him. All is well that ends well, but not after much interplay and intrigue.

Every word in this play is well measured out for one of the great masterpieces of English Drama.
Profile Image for Obied Alahmed.
241 reviews141 followers
September 14, 2019
" الناس إما مشغولون بصيد الأزواج أو الهرب منهم "
ربما هي محقة

لطيفة وخفيفة تتحدث عن صراع المثل العليا مع دناءة المال السياسي
Profile Image for Dagio_maya .
893 reviews255 followers
February 7, 2022
“LORD CAVERSHAM E se non sarete un marito ideale per questa signorina, vi lascerò senza il becco di un quattrino.
MABEL CHILTERN Un marito ideale! No, non credo mi piacerebbe. Sembra una cosa dell’aldilà.
LORD CAVERSHAM E come volete che sia, allora, mia cara?
MABEL CHILTERN Può essere come gli pare. Tutto quel che voglio io è essere… essere… oh, una vera moglie per lui.”

Commedia in quattro atti del 1895.

Il sipario si apre nel bel mezzo di un ricevimento in casa del sottosegretario al Ministero degli Esteri: Sir Robert Chiltern, un uomo ricco e potente che la moglie Gertrude definisce ”un marito ideale” per aver costruito la propria fortuna con la forza dell’onestà.
Il quadro idilliaco coniugale viene, tuttavia, disturbato dall’arrivo di Lady Cheveley, donna tanto affascinante quanto scaltra e perfida. La sua malvagia avidità la porta a ricattare Sir Robert Chiltern che non è poi tanto immacolato come la moglie pensa.
Tra loro un personaggio che rispecchia in modo palese Wilde stesso e il dandysmo:
Lord Goring , un impeccabile dandy che dimostra doti da filosofo e fa da perno risolutivo di tutto l’intreccio (” È il primo filosofo ben vestito della storia del pensiero”)

La commedia è assolutamente piacevole nel suo riuscire a mantenere un saldo equilibrio tra la leggerezza della battuta comica e la profondità dei temi richiamati.
Wilde dimostra di non essere indifferente alla bellezza estetica femminile ma è altrettanto categorico nel suo assegnarle un ruolo ben determinato.
C'è freschezza nel saper affrontare una tematica sempre attuale (una moda che non passa mai!) come quella della corruzione politica ma ci sono anche macchie di muffa e un'incapacità (mancanza di volontà...) nel disancorarsi da retaggi maschilisti tipici dell’età vittoriana.
Eppure chi se non Wilde puntava l’indice verso i moralismi e la falsità del pensiero puritano?

Accanto alla denuncia di ciò che è poco sano nel mondo politico si afferma che se c’è una colpa nei matrimoni che falliscono è tutta femminile.
Le donne sono colpevoli di costruire l’immagine dell’uomo ideale: innalzano altarini dove depongono il povero consorte e ne fanno un simulacro ipocrita.

Così a Lord Goring sono affidate asserzione come queste:

” La vita di un uomo ha più valore di quella di una donna. Affronta questioni più importanti, imprese di vasta portata; ha ambizioni più alte. La vita di una donna si avvolge e riavvolge nelle curve delle emozioni. Invece, è lungo le linee rette dell’intelletto che procede la vita di un uomo. Non fate un errore terribile, Lady Chiltern. Una donna che riesce a conservare l’amore di un uomo, e che ricambia il suo amore, ha fatto tutto ciò che il mondo vuole dalle donne, o dovrebbe volere da loro.”.

Dunque donne siate belle e affascinanti e chinate la testa…
Concetti odiosi espressi in maniera assolutamente adorabile.
Profile Image for WhatIReallyRead.
673 reviews489 followers
May 5, 2020
I read An Ideal Husband right after finishing 2 other plays by Wilde. This one had more extensive author's notes, so, by comparison, it felt more descriptive and immersive. The plot combined comedy and drama in a way that made it interesting, amusing, and heart-warming.

"Self-sacrifice is a thing that should be put down by law. It is so demoralizing to the people for whom one sacrifices oneself."

The dialogue in this play felt more balanced than, say, the one in A Woman of No Importance. The famous Wilde witticisms were still there and abundant enough, but they didn't wrestle attention away from the play itself. On the contrary, the brilliant phrases made the story shine.

I really enjoyed this one, it's one my favorite plays by Wilde now. I've just seen the 1999 movie adaptation with Cate Blanchett and it was great as well.
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,007 reviews354 followers
October 30, 2020
Ideias Poucas, Palavras Ocas

Nesta peça de teatro a sociedade inglesa é retratada como um grupo de inúteis especialmente dotados na arte de falar sobre coisa nenhuma!

"I love talking about nothing father. It's the only thing I know about"

Podem encontrá-la aqui: http://www.oldtownplayhouse.com/pdfs/...
Profile Image for Emily Snyder.
Author 19 books43 followers
October 16, 2011
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 make it too arch AND simultaneously too sinister. To read the play, one can enjoy all the witticisms and bon mots for which Wilde is justly famous. But beneath that clever exterior is more than a child in a handbasket (a la Earnest) but the difficulties, obligations, and complications with being a MAN in society.

Like Wilde's best work (Salome, Dorian Grey, etc.) the hero in "An Ideal Husband" is no saint, although he's perceived as one. And his youthful demons come back to haunt him in the form of blackmail. However, Sir Robert Chilton is a respected politician, a public figure whose whole persona is based around integrity. MORE, though - since we do not travel to Parliament with him, Oscar Wilde makes Robert a seeming paragon at home: a foil to his foppish friend, supporter of his sister-in-law, nearly worshipped by his wife.

Perfection is too much to bear. After trying to hide his past from his wife, Robert is forced by Lady Chilton to reveal the truth of his own shameful past. One cannot help but consider Wilde's own domesticity, his public persona - and what heartbreaking conversations were had behind closed doors. In one particularly moving speech, Robert begs his wife to allow him to be human, to be imperfect, and t be loved nonetheless. BUT - and here's what people forget about Wilde, presuming him to be nothing but a lush, Robert also asks his wife for help to overcome his current opportunity to backslide into his former depravity.

Wilde's personal voice always comes through the clearer in such soul-searching plays as these. His is the perpetual story of the woman caught in adultery, thrust at Christ's feet, who is ultimately spared, forgiven, and rebuked. I highly recommend anyone studying Wilde's works NOT to neglect reading them, not only in conjunction with the many biographies available, but ALSO in the light of his poems which he wrote in Rome, that are particularly revealing.

What's beautiful about Wilde is that he knew how to make us cry, even in the middle of our cultivated smiles.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book462 followers
February 9, 2017
While An Ideal Husband is typical Wilde in many ways, it is not Wilde at his best. Both Lady Windemere's Fan and The Importance of Being Ernest eclipse it. Still, great fun and charged with the kind of wit one expects from Wilde.

There is a play upon role reversal that is hilarious, as it is the woman who puts the man upon a pedestal and then knocks him off. There are the usual high-jinks with letters that come into the wrong hands and a ludicrous, but quite nifty, foiling of the primary villain. In fact, it has every single element that you come to expect and adore in a Wilde production. At the same time, it does manage to deal with at least one very serious issue...that of the ideal. To expect that any person can be ideal and flawless is to set one's self up for disaster.

One thing that struck me was the way Wilde wrote his stage directions. For each person as they enter the scene, he describes the type of art piece they would resemble. He had every physical trait and mannerism in his mind as he crafted these characters. I would love to see this play acted. I'm guessing it could be appreciated at one-step higher level seen on stage.
Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
914 reviews62 followers
October 18, 2022
One of the reasons I enjoy reading classics is to witness via the written word the construction of paradigms that have become tropes in the modern age. Here, in An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde, wrote a play about a married couple that is politically connected, affluent, on the verge of a major success in life, when a character from the past comes and places them in a compromised position. Stop me if you have heard this story before. Oh wait, you probably have because in 1895 this was not yet a trope. Here was the development of a paradigm of witty repartee, rapier-sharp dialogue, delivered with rapid pacing and double meaning galore. Together, the pair must examine where their moral standards lie, and how to resolve their current situation in a way that limits their disgrace, or avoids it altogether. I don't remember having read this in the past, but I thoroughly enjoyed Wilde's morality, and how the plot conveys it in a way that is neither pedantic nor preachy. There is humor in the situations, but the drawing-room setting of this play adds depth to the political discussions that transpire within the walls of an actual home.
Profile Image for Melcat.
242 reviews25 followers
July 8, 2021
Well Oscar Wilde being my all-time favorite author I am a bit biased on this, but hey that was a good play nonetheless !
In four sophisticated acts, you get a glimpse of London society, blackmailing, the acceptation that your loved one is not perfect, and of course a bunch of witty quotes. A delight.

In this play, Wilde asks for more love, tolerance and forgiveness, and above all acceptance. It is not a stretch to state that his statement is still relevant today.
Profile Image for Mia.
330 reviews202 followers
April 3, 2016
Review to come when I figure out whether or not this is as ragingly sexist as I think it might be.
Profile Image for Anne.
388 reviews72 followers
September 3, 2021
“Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.”

An Ideal Husband is an 1893 four-act play that centers around Robert Chilltern, a public official, who is desperate to keep a past transgression secret. While Mrs. Cheveley maneuvers to reveal the secret unless he meets her demands. However, Mrs. Cheveley is undermined by Chiltern’s wife, whom she knew years ago, and his friend, Lord Goring.

It’s the biting wit in Wilde’s works that I find so entertaining. This play was made even better by listening to the excellent 2001 audio produced by L.A. Theatre Works. Part of what made the wit so delish was the apt timing of the lines delivered between characters. And this audio cast of Various Readers hit the target perfectly.

To get more plays and short stories out of my TBR stacks, I have tried to listen while busy with activities that don’t allow for reading. This one hour and forty-minute audio was a great way to pass, what would have been kind of boring time. Instead, I finished what needed doing while being highly entertained.

Profile Image for Soumen Daschoudhury.
80 reviews18 followers
July 17, 2014
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 unembellished procedural air above. His extravagant descriptions are a celebration of words.

“Mabel Chiltern is a perfect example of prettiness, the apple-bosom type. She has all the fragrance and freedom of a flower. There is ripple after ripple of sunlight in her hair, and the little mouth, with its parted lips, is expectant, like the mouth of a child. She has the fascinating tyranny of youth, and the astonishing courage of innocence. To sane people she is not reminiscent of any work of art. But she is really like a Tanagra statuette, and would be rather annoyed if she were told so.”

Oh and there is a plot too; of deceit, of blackmailing! Sir Robert Chiltern is one of the richest and most respected gentlemen, of considerably high stature in the London society and an unblemished eminent individual in the political circle so much so to be a proposed member of the Parliament. Yet, his reputation, his entire political career, his future and more importantly the undying love and respect of his wife vacillates on the thinnest of threads orchestrated by the guileful Mrs.Cheveley. She harbors in her breast, a devastating secret of which the society is yet to be educated. So, would Sir Robert Chiltern hold his fort of honor and see his life wasted or would he yield in to the foxy scheme of Mrs.Cheveley – only if things were so easy!

“Sir Robert Chiltern: To attempt to classify you, Mrs. Cheveley, would be an impertinence. But may I ask, at heart, are you an optimist or a pessimist? Those seem to be the only two fashionable religions left to us nowadays.”

Enter Lord Goring, a charming dandy of great fortune who is equally reputable but for his unmistakable competence in his indolence and unconcern; for him a matter of pride. Ladies are beguiled by his presence in spite of his glorified love for himself; his father’s tongue for him is not so eloquent though. His love for Mabel Chiltern, Sir Robert’s sister is undisclosed to her though her’s for him is loud and prominent.

“Lord Goring: You see, Phipps, Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Just as vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people. To love oneself is the beginning of a life time romance, Phipps.”

Sir Robert Chiltern considers him a dear and trustworthy friend and pours his heart out on his mystifying dilemma. What follows is a comical Shakespearean circus of confusion which would be welcomingly applauded on a real stage – comical for the readers, tragic for the characters.

Oscar Wilde is a master of wit. Reading ‘An Ideal Husband’ brings to life a forgotten era of Lords and Viscounts, of long flowing skirts, uncomfortable layers of clothing, of ornate bonnets, of unreal wigs, the affectation of verbal soliloquies, the silverware and the annoying docility to indignation among others. For our generation and the one’s arriving, this polished multitude is or would be more incredible than the speaking lion from the Chronicles of Narnia.

I could only try to imagine being teary from the sporadic bursts of laughter if I ever had the following kind of conversation with my father, and my father? He would only be assured that after all, I am a lunatic.

“Lord Caversham: Want to have a serious conversation with you, sir.

Lord Goring: My dear father! At this hour?

Lord Caversham: Well, sir, it is only ten o’clock. What is your objection to the hour? I think the hour is an admirable hour!

Lord Goring: Well, the fact is, father, this is not my day for talking seriously. I am very sorry, but it is not my day.

Lord Caversham: What do you mean, sir?

Lord Goring: During the Season, father, I only talk seriously on the first Tuesday in every month, from four to seven.

Lord Caversham: Well, make it Tuesday, sir, make it Tuesday.

Lord Goring: But it is after seven, father, and my doctor says I must not have any serious conversation after seven. It makes me talk in my sleep.

Lord Caversham: Talk in your sleep, sir? What does that matter? You are not married.”
Profile Image for Andrea AKA Catsos Person.
792 reviews101 followers
May 16, 2017
eAudio from the library

Catching The Classics Group BOTM: Short Story Selection (Though actually it is a play)

Classic Bingo 2017: B2 Classic Comedy or Satire

This is the third example of Oscar Wilde's writing for me and I really liked it.
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