Book Review: An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

1 Sentence Summary: Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” is a scintillating exploration of love, politics, and the consequences of past indiscretions, wrapped in his signature wit and humor.

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

TitleAn Ideal Husband
AuthorOscar Wilde
GenreClassics, Fiction, Romance
Publication DateApril 1, 1893
Length138 pages

Where to Purchase

Book Summary

Step into the world of Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband,” a captivating play that takes center stage in the elegant drawing rooms of London’s high society. As the curtains rise, we are introduced to a cast of characters whose lives are woven together by secrets, political intrigue, and the complexities of love.

At the heart of the story is Sir Robert Chiltern, a respected member of Parliament, known for his unwavering dedication to moral principles. Sir Robert’s political career appears to be on the rise, and he is admired by all, including his adoring wife, Lady Gertrude Chiltern. However, beneath the facade of perfection lies a hidden secret from his past—a secret that threatens to shatter not only his reputation but also his marriage.

Enter Lord Arthur Goring, Sir Robert’s close friend and the embodiment of the quintessential bachelor-about-town. Lord Goring, with his wit, charm, and penchant for humorous aphorisms, is the polar opposite of the morally upright Sir Robert. Yet, he finds himself entangled in the Chilterns’ lives when the mysterious Mrs. Cheveley arrives on the scene. Mrs. Cheveley possesses a compromising letter from Sir Robert’s past and uses it to blackmail him into supporting a dubious political scheme.

As the plot unfolds, we are treated to a delightful tapestry of wit, humor, and social commentary. The play explores themes of trust, forgiveness, and the consequences of one’s actions, all while keeping the audience thoroughly entertained with Wilde’s razor-sharp dialogue and clever wordplay.

Book Review

Oh, Oscar Wilde, you’ve done it again! “An Ideal Husband” is a brilliant and thought-provoking masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on my heart. With Wilde’s signature blend of wit and romance, this play takes center stage as a true gem of literary and theatrical artistry.

From the moment I delved into the world of “An Ideal Husband,” I was ensnared by Wilde’s clever and humorous dialogue. Every exchange between the characters is a testament to his unparalleled ability to craft witty and memorable lines. Lord Goring, in particular, steals the show with his irreverent humor and his knack for turning even the most serious situations into laugh-out-loud moments.

The plot, with its layers of intrigue and moral dilemmas, is as engaging as it is thought-provoking. Sir Robert Chiltern’s internal struggle between his past indiscretion and his desire to uphold his reputation is a timeless and relatable conflict. It serves as a reminder that even the most virtuous among us are not immune to the temptations of the past.

Lady Gertrude Chiltern, portrayed as the epitome of Victorian virtue, is a character of great depth and complexity. Her unwavering support for her husband, even in the face of his past transgressions, is both admirable and heartbreaking. Her journey toward forgiveness and understanding adds a poignant layer to the story, one that resonates with the power of love and redemption.

Mrs. Cheveley, the play’s cunning antagonist, is a formidable adversary whose manipulation and deceit keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Her character serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of one’s actions and the lengths to which some will go to achieve their ambitions. Mrs. Cheveley is a villainess of the highest order, and her presence adds a thrilling element of suspense to the narrative.

But it is the relationship between Lord Goring and Sir Robert Chiltern that truly shines in “An Ideal Husband.” Their friendship, rooted in mutual respect and affection, is a testament to the enduring power of camaraderie. Lord Goring’s unwavering support for Sir Robert, even in the face of scandal, is a heartwarming example of true friendship and loyalty.

The romantic subplot between Lord Goring and Sir Robert’s sister, Mabel Chiltern, adds a touch of sweetness to the story. Mabel is a vivacious and independent young woman who is not afraid to challenge societal norms. Her interactions with Lord Goring are filled with playful banter and genuine affection, providing a delightful counterbalance to the weightier themes of the play.

“An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde is a theatrical triumph that continues to captivate audiences with its wit, humor, and timeless themes. It is a play that challenges us to examine the complexities of morality, forgiveness, and the consequences of our actions. Wilde’s ability to blend romance, comedy, and social commentary is nothing short of genius, and I can’t help but be enchanted by the world he has created. So, if you’re in search of a literary masterpiece that will both entertain and provoke thought, look no further than “An Ideal Husband.” It’s a play that reminds us that, in matters of love and morality, perfection may be elusive, but forgiveness and redemption are always within reach.


  • Elsie Sandlin

    Elsie Sandlin is a talented content writer and she seamlessly blends her love for reading with her flair for crafting engaging content. She finds solace and excitement between the pages of books, with a particular fondness for romance novels. Reading is not just a hobby for her; it's her favorite activity, a constant source of inspiration and joy. With a soft spot for love stories, Elsie has a discerning eye for the nuances that make each romance book unique and enthralling. Her reviews are not only insightful but also resonate with the hopes and dreams of readers who seek escape and connection through these tales of love. Through her words, she guides readers to the romance novels that are sure to captivate their hearts and imaginations. Elsie's deep and personal connection with the genre lends authenticity and warmth to her writing, making her an invaluable member of the book review team. Whether you're a seasoned romance reader or a newcomer to the genre, Elsie Sandlin's thoughtful recommendations and reviews are your compass to finding books that will whisk you away on romantic adventures.

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