An Ideal Husband – Oscar Wilde

This was my first read of an Oscar Wilde work, and I immediately fell in love with him. When I first read it, it was a great read. But when I returned to it three years later I realized that “great” is an understatement. It is simply brilliant. There is ample wit, sarcasm, and humor. But underneath the message conveyed is thought-provoking.

Oscar Wild is realistic in his observance of humans and his exposure of human follies in the face of power and wealth. He exposes both black and white sides of ambition, showing to what extent one would be driven under its spell. Wild mocks the society for strictly categorizing men and women as good or bad and proceeding to idolize them as perfect or shun them as wicked. He is sarcastic about this strict division imposed by the upper-class society of his day. Wild shows through his words of wisdom that no human is without fault. None is perfect. There are both black and white in us humans. It is the degree which either makes us good or bad. Wild also proceeds to show the importance of accepting the faults and forgiving, probably in reference to himself.

This second reading showed me how amazingly Oscar Wild has made this straightforward idea into a complex play. The plot is quite simple but it undergoes a couple of intense plot twists, keeping the reader full of suspense. The read is very engaging from its first dialogue and hard to put down. I was determined to read it slow this time allowing myself enough time to delve into it more fully, but it was a painfully hard job.

To say a few words on the characters, I enjoyed the serious, the gossiping, the mocking while loving the satire of Lord Goring and youthful, careless energy of Mabel Chiltern and their light banter. It made the play even more interesting.

This is so far the best Oscar Wild play that I’ve read and probably my favourite one. I recently read Lady Winderemere’s Fan (which I really liked) and felt that it is my favourite, but after this reread I’m very sure that this is my favourite play by Oscar Wild.

Rating: 4/5

About the author

Piyangie Jay Ediriwickrema is an Attorney-at-Law by profession. Her devotion to literature has taken shape in reading and reviewing books of various genres set in different periods of time. She dabs at a little poetry and fiction of her own and hopes to share her work with the readers in the future.

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