Oscar Wilde Compare/Contrast

Topics: Marriage, Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband Pages: 3 (1249 words) Published: May 26, 2014

Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.

Affection and companionship were major themes for Society Drama during the 1890s. An established ‘storyline’ of the period was that of domestic life affected by a circumstance, concluding in the affirmation of common ideas: fidelity, duty, forgiveness, etc. Although ‘An Ideal Husband’ adopts these motifs, it also makes fun them through the exaggerated ideas of love and friendship each character represents. The play ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ by Oscar Wilde presents a window into the minds and manners of the upper class Victorian society of London. He satirizes the hypocrisy, which underlies the day-to-day behavior of the so-called aristocrats, and mocks at their shallow morals and beliefs, especially those pertaining to marriage. In Victorian society, women were treated as the ‘weaker vessel’ that had to be cared and provided for by men, first her father and then her husband. However, Wilde shows us how different characters hold different views towards marriage, love and friendship.

ID: Lady Chiltern’s idea of love appears to alter Wilde’s message within the play. Her notion of love in the beginning is overtly feminine and Wilde exaggerates her view of her husband until it borders on the ridiculous. She claims she ‘worshipped him’ and that he was the ‘ideal of her life’. In making Lady Chiltern so morally upstanding that she threatens to leave Sir Robert because he has stained his otherwise stainless character, she appears laughable to the audience. ‘We women worship when we love; and when we lose our worship, we lose everything’ is one such statement used to highlight the unreasonable nature of her love. ‘Worship’ is linked to ‘everything’ within the line, implying there is nothing else within her love for Sir Robert, additionally revealing her view on friendship as an element of love – it is non-existent, there is only idealism. She also speaks for all women (‘we’), again furthering the idea that...
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