An Ideal Husband Them Essay

Topics: Victorian era, Woman, Gender Pages: 1 (418 words) Published: May 12, 2012
An ideal husband Theme Essay

Out of all the various themes that this outstanding play has touched upon or rather explored throughout the Victorian era, the one I found to be most prominent was the religiously occurring theme of the Feminine. Womanliness in the Victorian era was sure a rare occurrence to experience but Wilde definitely used this theme to underline the helplessness of a woman of the time. How Wilde began to explain or rather express his views on womanliness is by comparing mainly two characters, each representing two different roles of a woman. Wilde chose the virtuous Lady Chiltern to be the ideal “norm” of how a woman should behave and act at the time while he introduced the witty Mrs. Cheveley to represent all the opposite characteristics of a woman of the Victorian times. In addition, Lady Chiltern appears as the model Victorian new woman, morally upstanding, highly educated, and actively supportive of her husband's political career. By Act IV, she will also emerge in the role of forgiver and caretaker, and thus meets the more conventional demands of Victorian womanhood as well. In terms of basic generational differences, she stands out against the old-fashioned Lady Markby, the embodiment of an older group of society wives. On the other hand, Lady Chiltern is frank and always in earnest, the witty and ambitious Mrs. Cheveley is characterized by a sort of two-faced femininity. As described in Act I, she is a unnatural, horrible, evil and a dangerous combination of genius and beauty. Having revealed her capacity to manipulate in Act I, the play dramatically unmasks her as a villain in Act III. This monster however represents a woman’s inner will and her actual free will. What other woman at the time are scared to do, Mrs. Cheveley does without a problem and with no actual sense of fear. She seems to not be bound by the social boundaries placed on Victorian women and acts on her own. Independent and witty, Mrs. Cheveley makes her way...
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