An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde – Lord Goring and Lady Chiltern
‘Discuss how Wilde influences the audience to like or dislikecharacters’
In my paper, I will discuss two entirely different people, both ofwhom have entirely different personalities but are both the charactersin the play, ‘An Ideal husband’- Lord Goring and Mrs. Chiltern. Iwill also mention the reasons and ways in which Oscar Wilde hasmanaged to make them liked and disliked by the audience.
Background info: The beginning of the play is set at Mrs. Chiltern’shome. She is conducting a party and has invited many guests,including all of the main characters in the play, Lord Goring. LordGoring is an intelligent, laid back 34 year old bachelor who liveslife leisurely which distinguishes him from most of the other upperclass male characters who have political careers, dominating theirlives.
Proof that politics is overtaking their normal lives can be seen inthe first act when Lady Basildon and Mrs. Marchmont speak about theirhusbands, further evidence is the remark Lady Markby’s makes about howpolitics has disrupted her life below.
“….By since Sir John has taken to attending the debates regularly,which he never used to do in the old days, his language has becomequite impossible…I left the table as soon as I had my second cup oftea, I need hardly say. But his violent language could be heard allover the house! I trust, Gertrude, that Sir Robert is not likethat?”
Unlike these men, with mainly political issues in their minds, LordGoring takes no part in it, and is called by his father to lead ‘anidle life’. Due to this fact, the audience immediately likes him andknows that he will be the c…
… of love.
Due to this, even after Lady Chiltern is given the biggest shock ofher life, her ideal dreams suddenly shattering, and then immediatelyscolded and critized by her husband Robert Chiltern with his brillianttruthful speech on how women always make ideals of men, the audiencecan no longer feel no remorse for her as Lady Chiltern sways side toside. Pity is felt for Robert Chiltern, living with a wife believingthat her husband was the most perfect person in the world and onlyloving him because of this.
Although the end is a happy one, at the end, when she agrees withRobert that he should resign from the offer of having a cabinet seat,even Lord Goring proves to know more about life and her husband thanshe does, telling her that rather than lose her love, Robert Chilternwould agree to anything. And so again, she is portrayed negatively.