An Ideal Husband
by Oscar Wilde
An Ideal Husband Marriage Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
LADY MARKBY. [Genially.] Ah, nowadays people marry as often as they can, don't they? It is most fashionable. (1.38)
Lady Markby introduces the idea of marriage as a fad for young people. The characters have many different understandings of the purpose of marriage.
MRS. MARCHMONT. [With a sigh.] Our husbands never appreciate anything in us. We have to go to others for that! (1.165)
Wilde articulates a central theme even in these lighthearted discussions. She's just being clever, but Mrs. Marchmont foreshadows Lady Chiltern's painful discovery that marrying what you believe is the "perfect" husband will only lead to disappointment.
LADY CHILTERN. I will love you always, because you will always be worthy of love. (1.390)
Lady Chiltern traps Sir Robert in her love, which is by no means unconditional. There's almost a latent threat in this line: if you are not worthy of love, I will not love you always. It is clear, however, that she fully expects Sir Robert to live up to her impossible expectations.