An Ideal Husband
42 Installments—Entirely free
Secrets and mistakes haunt a politician care of the most charming blackmailer one could ever meet. But the stakes are high when political power hangs in the balance, and the delicate game these characters play makes for an exciting drama indeed.
This comedic, witty play by famed playwright Oscar Wilde revolves around blackmail and corruption in London high society. Sir Robert Chiltern and his wife Lady Gertrude host a genteel dinner party filled with the powerful and the prestigious—but the glittering event is darkened by a secret. Mrs. Cheveley, an old associate of the couple, reveals herself to be in possession of a dark secret concerning Sir Robert’s entanglement in an illicit stock scandal. Trying to gain his support for the construction of a canal in Argentina, Mrs. Cheveley blackmails Sir Robert, who caves in to her demands in an attempt to protect his marriage and reputation. Lady Chiltern is oblivious to her husband’s murky past and firmly believes him to be “an ideal husband,” a man who conforms to her lofty ideals both in public and private life. Thus when she discovers his support for the canal project, she demands that he withdraw it, inadvertently putting him in an even more difficult position. Meanwhile, a diamond brooch goes missing, and mysteriously circulates among the other characters as they try to implicate each other. Ultimately, as the intriguing twists build to the play’s final act, the truth behind the blackmail plot and the missing brooch is revealed—and the same individual appears to have had a hand in both schemes.
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Born into a well-to-do Irish family, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was smart and spirited from his earliest days. His mother a noted poet, Oscar grew up in a cultured world, full of fascinating personalities. In college, Wilde became the poster-boy for aestheticism, a glamorous, pleasure-seeking movement then at the height of fashion. Going on to enjoy a successful career as a poet, playwright, novelist, and lecturer, Wilde would be an icon for the rest of his life. However, his bold and unconventional choices would later bring him face to face with the strict moral code of Victorian society. While married, Wilde embarked on a passionate homosexual affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. Douglas's family, enraged at this relationship, attempted to expose Wilde for what they considered an unforgivable lifestyle. When their battle went to court, Wilde was ultimately convicted and sent to prison for indecency. After this debilitating experience, Wilde left to spend his last years in Paris. Although Wilde was condemned in his day for who he was, his writing and personal courage have restored him to a place of honor among writers. Among his many titles, Wilde is well known for such works as The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Importance of Being Earnest, De Profundis, and The Ballad of Reading Gaol.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
THE EARL OF CAVERSHAM, K.G.
ACT II. Morning-room in Sir Robert Chiltern's House.
ACT III. The Library of Lord Goring's House in Curzon Street.
ACT IV. Same as Act II.
The action of the play is completed within twenty-four hours.
THE EARL OF CAVERSHAM, Mr. Alfred ...
Reviewed by dreamdust on Apr 12, 2011
light and superb-a perfect spring read, it'll put a smile in your heart.
Reviewed by Nightshade on Mar 8, 2010
It is a very easy read and it is rather clever in its simplicity...
Reviewed by SmokeDiamond on Apr 24, 2009
This book was good as a short story. I liked the characters, the story line and the setting....it just left me wanting more though. It is very short, somewhat 'to the point'. Great if you are looking for a quicker read.
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Ratings for 'An Ideal Husband' by Wilde, Oscar