At a distinguished dinner party in Grosvenor Square, London, we meet Sir Robert Chiltern, a wealthy member of the House of Commons; his wife, Lady Chiltern; his sister, Mabel Chiltern; and Sir Robert’s charming bachelor friend, Lord Arthur Goring. Suddenly, an unexpected -- and unwelcome -- guest arrives. Mrs. Cheveley is an old enemy of Lady Chiltern’s from their school days, Lord Goring’s ex-fiancee, and is on a mission to blackmail Sir Robert into supporting a fraudulent scheme to build a canal in Argentina. When she threatens to tell his beloved Lady Chiltern-- and the world-- that Sir Robert’s money came from an illegal stock secret, Sir Robert feels he has no choice but to give in to her demands When Sir Robert changes his stance on the canal, Lady Chiltern questions his decision, urging him to stay true to his morals. As Sir Robert flips back and forth between following his heart and protecting his reputation, Lady Cheveley tries to win back the affection of her ex-fiancee, Lord Goring. Deceit and lies weave themselves throughout as Wilde pulls the curtain on the hypocrisy of moralistic Victorian society. With wit and gaiety, Wilde paints a scathing critique of gossips, income gaps, sexist attitudes, and the perils of protecting one’s morals.
An Ideal Husband guide sections