Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “An Ideal Husband” as Want to Read:
An Ideal Husband
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

An Ideal Husband

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  35,852 ratings  ·  1,166 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 April 1st 1893)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about An Ideal Husband, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 re…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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  35,852 ratings  ·  1,166 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of An Ideal Husband
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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
...more
Piyangie
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my first Oscar Wild read and I immediately fell in love with him. So began my Oscar Wild journey. It was a great read when I first read it. 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 blac
...more
Vanessa J.
Feb 19, 2015 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
...more
Duane
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.
Steven Godin
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Tahera
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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 ...more
David Schaafsma
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
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
...more
Katie Lumsden
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable. I do love Oscar Wilde's writing!
Connie G
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic, play, humor
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 ve
...more
Gary
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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,
...more
Jasmine
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
...more
Emily Snyder
Oct 16, 2011 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
...more
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
Review to come when I figure out whether or not this is as ragingly sexist as I think it might be.
WhatIReallyRead
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
...more
Sue K H
Even better than The Importance of Being Earnest! It's universal, relevant, and timeless. Take politics and relationships, add going back many years in someone's life to destroy and/or judge them, and mix it up with a big dose of humor. This play is perfection! Love, love, love this and Oscar Wilde. ...more
Kenny
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow ~~ I loved the wit and charm of this work.
Sara
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
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
...more
Soumen Daschoudhury
Jul 09, 2014 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
Lena K.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, plays
This play is pure fun (if you're into biting sarcasm)!
Edlira Dibrani
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I LOVE READING OSCAR WILDE´S 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 wasn´t so, life wouldn´t be worth living.``

``Lady Chiltern: And h
...more
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
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.
Jen from Quebec :0)
Awesome! I have been putting this one off for a bit, as it is a play, not a novel like I originally thought; so I got the audio to accompany my book, and it was splendid! At times full of sorrow, at times hilarious! It reminded me of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in the way that everything gets mixed up among all the couples in the play! In the end, it is a tale of faithfulness, love, friendship and morality. Well done! "Jolly Good" AND/OR "BRILLIANT", as the Brits would say! ---Jen from Quebec :0 ...more
Vivian
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
“Ah! I prefer pluck. It is not so common, nowadays, as genius is.”

Witty and charming, assuming you ignore some really dreadful and outdated sexist concepts. Those I could stab in the eye, but Lord Goring and Lady Mabel's repartees were delightfully nonsensical. While it's not The Importance of Being Earnest, it's still a nice diversion.

Lord Goring: [Triumphantly.] No; that was a flash of genius.

Mabel Chiltern: Your first.

Lord Goring: [With determination.] My last.


Stabby, stabby:

"A man’s life is
...more
Fred
2019 REREAD:
I still love this absolutely fantastic play. Dishearteningly, I had forgotten most of the plot since reading it for the first time, so it was wonderful to refresh myself with Lord Goring and Mabel Chiltern’s flirtatious, witty, and incredibly sweet romance; Sir Robert’s dark political secrets; Mrs. Cheveley being a cold, manipulative cow...and Oscar generally giving some hilarious and semi-accurate views on society!

All Oscar’s plays - this one in particular - is split into two sectio
...more
El
Jul 27, 2012 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
...more
David Lentz
Jun 20, 2011 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
DJ
I read this one out of order because I started it, found it boring, and skipped it for a while. When I’d finished all his other plays I came back to it and persevered, and I’m so glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it! Slow just to begin with, then clever, witty, humorous and dramatic.
Missy J
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining, witty and fun to read! Oscar Wilde in his true element!

This play revolves around the themes of personal and public honor, forgiveness, society's perception of success, gender relations, blackmail, reputation and political corruption. In less than 80 pages, the reader gets a glimpse into late 19th century London high society.

Sir Robert Chiltern and his wife Lady Chiltern are hosting a dinner party when an unexpected guest arrives, Lady Cheveley. The ladies at the party immedia
...more
Gorab Jain
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gorab by: Em*Greedy* (Iniya)
Loved this very much due to humour and excessive sarcasm.
Rating - 3.5/5
Favourite character - Lord Goring
High point - Quotes
Low point - Plotline

In this small play, quotes are plenty. You'll find them in every conversation. In fact there is a dialogue between father and son where they talk only in terms of quotes :D
Didn't know some of the famous quotes originated here.
In spite of being a classic, the language is very easy to grasp.
Surely going to read more by Wilde.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Ireland: Q4 2018 Quarterly Irish Play 6 15 Nov 12, 2018 09:22PM  
Catching up on Cl...: An Ideal Husband - February 2017 89 150 Mar 01, 2017 03:04AM  
Catching up on Cl...: This topic has been closed to new comments. An Ideal Husband 1 44 Feb 01, 2017 10:39AM  
Books2Movies Club: An Ideal Husband 2 12 Dec 10, 2016 01:13PM  
Are Any of Oscar Wilde's Works Not Plays??? 7 67 Oct 15, 2013 07:23AM  
Bookoholics: An Ideal Husband - Oscar Wilde 6 8 Jul 19, 2013 11:36AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Merchant's Prologue and Tale
  • The Constant Wife
  • The Sorrows of Satan or The Strange Experience of One Geoffrey Tempest, Millionaire
  • Candida
  • The Matchmaker
  • A Day in Spring
  • The Living Corpse
  • There Are Crimes and Crimes
  • Payment Deferred
  • In Extremis
  • Engel des Vergessens
  • The Bear
  • The Man of Destiny
  • Veliki briljantni valček
  • في الطريق الكبير
  • Private Lives
  • حطمي قيدك
  • Overruled
See similar books…
26,478 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 ...more

Related Articles

Jacqueline Woodson seems to have been born to be a writer. Even as a young child, she would write constantly.
42 likes · 6 comments
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” 3222 likes
“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.” 2233 likes
More quotes…