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An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband


by Oscar Wilde

 Table of Contents

An Ideal Husband Characters

Meet the Cast

Sir Robert Chiltern

Sir Robert the PoliticianSir Robert is handsome and intelligent, he's a good orator and has a clean record. His wife is equally impressive and his marriage is sound. Even his colleagues across the...

Lord Arthur Goring

Come on, admit it. You like Lord Goring best. And why not? He's a good friend and a really snappy dresser. He has all the funniest lines. We're pretty sure Wilde liked him best, too. In fact, he mi...

Lady Gertrude Chiltern

The Victorian New WomanMaybe Lady Chiltern makes your eyes roll. She comes across as being a little stuck-up and pushy, it's true. But she has lots of strong points, too. As the play's model of the...

Mrs. Laura Cheveley

Mrs. Cheveley as Non-ConformistIf Lady Chiltern is the good angel of feminine modernity, Mrs. Cheveley is the dark angel. She's as Machiavellian and power-hungry as they come. Independence is her g...

Mabel Chiltern

Mabel is the third "generation" in the play. While she ends up engaged to Lord Goring, she's not really in his same world (she's probably about half his age). His spontaneity is constructed; hers i...

Lord Caversham

Lord Caversham is Lord Goring's father. He provides a generational foil to Lord Goring, much as Lady Markby does to Lady Chiltern. An old-fashioned public servant, Lord Caversham believes that poli...

Lady Markby

Lady Markby plays the role of the gossipy aunt. If you want the world to know your business, tell it to her; it's clear that nothing ever ends with her. In the play, she represents the pre-modern w...


Phipps is Lord Goring's servant, adept at agreeing with his Master. Called the "ideal butler" because of his stoicism and discretion, Phipps also knows how to make a joke. Due to his wit and abilit...

Lady Basildon and Mrs. Marchmont

Relatively indistinguishable from each other, these two ladies fill out the party scene and provide us with some background information on the main characters. These women let us know that Lady Chi...

Vicomte de Nanjac

Lord Goring calls him the "child-diplomatist." With his fancy tie and funny accent, he's half-dandy, half-politico. His flirting with Mrs. Cheveley helps fill us in on her character early on. In ad...


Mason is Sir Robert's butler. He's the one announcing the guests at the party scene in Act 1. When Sir Robert wants to get rid of Mrs. Cheveley, all he has to do is buzz for Mason. Even a rebel lik...


Oscar Wilde loves his comic servants. James only appears in Act 4, to tell Lord Goring that none of the people he wants to see are there – but his father is.


Harold seems to be the least important servant in the play, but his scene actually does give us two pieces of interesting detail. Here is Harold's one glorious line:HAROLD. What name, madam?MRS. CH...

Mr. Montford

Mr. Montford is one of Sir Robert's secretaries. He escorts Mrs. Marchmont into dinner. He's pretty much walking set dressing.
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