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An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband

by Oscar Wilde

An Ideal Husband Analysis

Literary Devices in An Ideal Husband

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Triumph of Love tapestry is from a design by Boucher – perhaps from his "Visit of Venus to Vulcan" (1754), or "Triumph of Venus" (1740). In both, the goddess of love is a triumphant figur...

Setting

Oscar Wilde set this play in his own time. His many references to particular political situations (the Suez Canal, Women's Liberal Association) made the play up-to-the-minute for his audience. A fe...

Genre

It's the genre that will never die: the romantic comedy. How many romantic comedies hit the movie theaters every year? How many real-life happy endings start as awkward first dates at said romantic...

Tone

OK, so "comedy" covers the "light" description of the tone (see "Genre" for more). But how can an author take a simultaneously "satirical" and "sympathetic" view of the story? It's in the presentat...

Writing Style

You can always recognize Wilde by his epigrams – succinct, witty, paradoxical sayings. Like this one (no offense, rock stars): "Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want o...

What's Up with the Title?

An "ideal husband" is what we spend the whole play learning not to want. When we're first introduced to Sir Robert Chiltern, he appears to be just that – a "pattern husband," as Mrs. Markby s...

What's Up with the Ending?

Like many a comedy before and after it, An Ideal Husband ends with marriage. The pleasant, friendly world that was overturned by (perpetually single) Mrs. Cheveley is restored – improved, act...

Tough-o-Meter

An Ideal Husband isn't hard to read. The witticisms keep things clipping along. Many elements of the story – a woman with the past, a political intrigue, a problem-solving friend – will...

Plot Analysis

Sir Robert Chiltern is at the peak of his career.The play starts with a big party filled with glitterati – an expression of the political celebrity Sir Robert has become. Party chatter allows...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Mrs. Cheveley disrupts the stasis that Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern had enjoyed.Mrs. Cheveley is the dark figure. She comes onto the scene with a self-absorbed mission: to establish her own wealth...

Three Act Plot Analysis

OK, don't worry about the fact that Wilde put his play in four acts and we're talking about three. The Three Act Plot Analysis is just another way of looking at the structure of the play. And maybe...

Trivia

Oscar Wilde's famous last words: "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do." (Source)Oscar Wilde also wrote fairy tales for children, some with conservative messages. (Source)Oscar Wilde is buried in th...

Steaminess Rating

Depending on the costume designer, there could be some serious cleavage and figure-flattering pants in this play. There are kisses of varying temperatures, when characters get together or make up....

Allusions

"the old Greek" and "Penelope" (1.103-104): a reference to Odysseus and his faithful wifeBook of Numbers (3.240): an Old Testament bookThe Times and The Morning Post (4.26): The Times was serious;...

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