An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband - Oscar Wilde It was a quick read like a splash of cold water on the face!! May be because the title ‘An ideal husband’ is an irony in itself compared to the kind of story Oscar Wilde has portrayed here in this book, because the truth he unfolds throughout and the insight that he gives in this play clearly challenges the existence of a ‘ideal husband’ or rather an ‘ideal person’.

Lady Chiltern thinks highly of her husband Sir Robert Chiltern. But as soon as she learns that the money and the status that he has earned was actually an award that he received for once being dishonest when he was young she is Stunned and at that moment her idea of he being an ‘ideal gentleman’ is shattered. Because her theory is

“If people are dishonest once, they will be dishonest a second time.”

Yes may be… but not always. I almost agreed with her when she said that but Sir Robert Chiltern words made me consider his perspective as well when he quoted the below lines..

“The error all women commit. Why can’t you women love us, faults and all? Why do you place us on monstrous pedestals? We have all feet of clay, women as well as men; but when we men love women, we love them knowing their weaknesses, their follies, their imperfections, love them all the more, it may be, for that reason. It is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have need of love. It is when we are wounded by our own hands, or by the hands of others, that love should come to cure us – else what use is love at all? All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive. All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon. A man’s love is like that.It is wider, larger, more human than a woman’s. Women think that they are making ideals of men. What they are making of us are false idols merely. You made your false idol of me, and I had not the courage to come down, show you my wounds, tell you my weaknesses. I was afraid that I might lose your love, as I have lost it now.”

This was indeed a splash of cold water that hit Lady Chiltern before it was too late and of course some of Lord Goring’s (one of the smartest character in the play) friendly advice that she considered in a right way! Thus, Oscar Wilde does succeed in showing ‘imperfection’ as a rectifiable flaw not a dreadful disease!