An Ideal Husband
How we cite our quotes:
MRS. CHEVELEY. [Leaning back on the sofa and looking at him.] How very disappointing! (1.250)
The power's in the stage directions. Mrs. Cheveley knows she has the upper hand. She's relaxed. She wants to enjoy the foreplay. Then she'll go for the jugular.
MRS. CHEVELEY. […] I am much stronger than you are. The big battalions are on my side. You have a splendid position, but it is your splendid position that makes you so vulnerable. (1.268)
The tables have turned. Normally Sir Robert uses the power of his good reputation to influence people. Now that reputation leaves him wide open. Mrs. Cheveley has no good reputation to protect and so she pulls out all the stops.
LADY CHILTERN. It is power to do good that is fine – that, and that only. (1.366)
Lady Chiltern can't understand Sir Robert's obsession with power, and why the desire for political power would influence him to sacrifice his beliefs. Two very different temperaments meet in this marriage.