When read, the play has its fine moments, but even at its best, it is nothing more than a good piece of imitation. Wilde wrote his poetic drama in France, and in French, during the autumn of This very limitation became an asset when he chose to cast his play in the stylized, ritualistic mold set by the Belgian playwright Maeterlinck, whose works relied heavily on repetition, parallelism, and chiming effect—verbal traits equally characteristic of a writer who thinks in English but translates into French.
As a poetic dramatist, a verbal contriver of a symbolic ritual, his intention was not to transcribe but to transfigure. The simple setting is deftly conceived to heighten dramatic effects. As the play begins, a cosmopolitan group of soldiers and pages attendant on the Judean royal house occupy the terrace. At her command, the Syrian brings forth Jokanaan from his prison.
His disgusted rejection of her love only fans the flames of lust. She must have him: At this point, Herod and Herodias, attended by their court, enter. Herod is superstitious, cowardly, obliquely cruel, a tyrannical yet vacillating ruler; Herodias is brutal with the callous directness of an utterly debased woman. He offers her whatever reward she may request, even to the half of his kingdom.
Unable to break his vow, the horrified king dispatches the Nubian executioner into the cistern. This ebony stem bears a strange flower: Richard Ellmann finds something more personally symbolic in the tragedy.
Herod, like his creator, vainly struggles to master these opposing impulses both within and outside himself. Always lazy about writing which was an arduous process for a verbal artist with his high standards but perpetually in need of money to pay for the great and small luxuries that were his necessities of life, Wilde agreed in to write a play for George Alexander, the actor-manager of St.
The financial results were gratifying enough to encourage Wilde to write three more plays in the same vein, though he never much respected the form or the products. Only in The Importance of Being Earnest was he to overcome the inherent weaknesses of the well-made society play, but each of the other three pieces is fine enough to win for him the title of best writer of British comedies between Richard Brinsley Sheridan and George Bernard Shaw. The plays were up-to-the-minute in providing fashionable furnishings and costumes to charm both segments of their intended audience.
Late Victorian society people enjoyed seeing themselves reflected as creatures of such style and wit, while the middle classes delighted at being given a glimpse into the secret rites of the world of fashion. Chevely in An Ideal Husband go in for wit and the other of whom Mrs.
Arbuthnot of A Woman of No Importance , though equally unrepentant, specializes in good works. Erlynne, the runaway mother of whose continued existence Lady Windermere is utterly ignorant, has returned to London to regain a place in society and is blackmailing Lord Windermere, who seeks to protect his wife from knowledge of the blot on her pedigree.
Erlynne to the one maternal gesture of her life: The older and wiser woman sacrifices her own reputation temporarily, it turns out to save that of her daughter. In A Woman of No Importance , Gerald Arbuthnot, a youth reared in rural seclusion and apparent respectability by his mother, happens to encounter the man who is his father: This complex situation allows Wilde to expose several human inconsistencies.
Previously uninterested in the child he had begotten and also unwilling to marry the beautiful young mother, Lord Illingworth is now so full of paternal feeling that he offers to marry the middle-aged woman to retain the son. Arbuthnot professes selfless devotion to her son but begs Gerald to forgo the brilliant prospects Illingworth can offer and remain with her in their provincial backwater. Sir Robert Chiltern, a high-principled politician with a rigidly idealistic young wife, encounters the adventuress Mrs.
In brief, then, all three of these plays are formed of the highly theatrical matter that, in lesser hands, would form the stuff of melodrama. They accurately mirror a certain facet of late Victorian society. Notably, all at some point pass through the hands of Mrs. Cheveley and Lord Goring, emphasizing how the two are the central actors of the play.
Indeed, all three objects change hands between them at their confrontation in Act III, what one might identify as the play's climax. As the "causes" of complication in the plot, it is fitting that all these objects emerge at the plot's most tense moment.
These objects are also rich in symbolic properties. To elaborate on a few that relate to the primary theme of marriage: Cheveley in blackmail, avenging both her near-destruction of the Chilterns' marriage and betrayal of Lord Goring in their courtship.
If the brooch avenges Mrs. Cheveley's crimes against conjugal life, Lady Chiltern's pink note attests to marriage's restoration. Though written as a plea for help to Lord Goring, Sir Robert mistakes it as being a love letter addressed to him, facilitating his reconciliation with his wife. Tellingly, in the final scene, it serves as a sort of second marriage certificate, Gertrude putting Sir Robert's name down as its addressee.
Compare and contrast the different notions of love proffered by the players, both major and minor. Contextualize these opinions within the larger moral scheme of the play. You may want to isolate two characters or couples for comparison.
One could draw an obvious contrast between the ideas of love presented by Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern and in particular by isolating their confrontation at the end Act II. In this scene, both Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern assume melodramatic voices—their speech suddenly characterized by exclamations, apostrophes, and lyrical entreaties—that mirror the conventional dialogue of the Victorian popular stage.
Accordingly, their melodramatic dialogue serves as vehicle for a similarly generic discussion of love that reaffirms the social values of the Victorian stage. Tellingly this discussion describes love in explicitly gendered terms.
As a woman, Lady Chiltern loves Sir Robert as an ideal husband, a man worthy of worship for the example he sets privately and publicly. In contrast, Sir Robert describes a masculine love that allows for or is predicated on human imperfection. Human require a love that can cure their wounds and forgive their sins, rather than exalt them as moral exemplum.
Once again, in terms of the play's moral thematics, one might group their rousing confrontation with the characters, plotlines, and other elements that mirror the mechanics of the popular theater in contrast with those that might undermine these theatrical conventions. An Ideal Husband by: Themes Motifs Symbols Key Facts.
Yet, she was ever burdened by her drunkard of a husband who not only failed to keep a job but also turn to her for money shamelessly. We will write a custom essay sample on My Ideal Husband .
Set in the late nineteenth century, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband points out that the individuals are flawed as introduced by the irony of the play’s title. In this play, Sir Robert Chiltern is a man of wealth and power and is viewed as an ideal husband by his wife, Lady Chiltern. Though he.
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Thesis statement: Human defines the ideal husband as the one that is kind, the one that care, and the one that has as only devotion the success and happiness of his family. Free Essay: Set in the late nineteenth century, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband points out that the individuals are flawed as introduced by the irony of the.