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An Ideal Husband
by Oscar Wilde
Lady Gertrude Chiltern Timeline and Summary
Lady Chiltern recognizes Mrs. Cheveley from her childhood. Shocked to learn that Sir Robert will support the Argentine Canal at Mrs. Cheveley's suggestion. Lady Chiltern immediately insists that Sir Robert take back this unethical position. Lady Chiltern is gently urged by Lord Goring to be a little more forgiving. She finds out about Sir Robert's past from Mrs. Cheveley. Lady Chiltern lashes out at Sir Robert. He accuses her of demanding the impossible, and of putting him on a pedestal. Desperate for help, Lady Chiltern writes a letter to Lord Goring. The next morning, she finds out that Lord Goring has burned the evidence of her husband's crime. Lord Goring also informs her that Mrs. Cheveley may try to frame them in an affair. When Sir Robert offers to leave public life, relieved that he's been saved. Lady Chiltern encourages him. Lord Goring asks her not to demand such a sacrifice from her husband. Instead, Lord Goring says she should continue to support her husband, because that's her job. Lady Chiltern repeats these words to Sir Robert, assuring him that she'll no longer bring judgment to the marriage – only love.