Politics serve a number of purposes in An Ideal Husband. They start the show with a party, lend weight to the protagonist's crisis, and give occasion for many, many witticisms. The public nature of work in politics gives the protagonist higher stakes. To paraphrase the villainess: scandals don't just hurt a politician, they crush him. Pitted against the equally high-stakes game of love, politics lend an exciting background to this comedy with dashes of potboiler.
The transition of settings in An Ideal Husband – from political party to a private morning room – underscores the play's investigation of public and private morality.
An Ideal Husband argues that love is more important than politics.