Oscar Wilde: An Ideal Husband

(2669 words)
  • Anne Markey (Dublin City University)

Gratified with the success of the first production of his previous play, A Woman of No Importance, in 1893, and pleased with a commission from John Hare, actor-manager of London’s Garrick Theatre for another comedy, Oscar Wilde began work that summer on what would become An Ideal Husband. When the concept of the exemplary spouse was debated by a group of aristocratic and fashionable women in the earlier play, Mrs Allonby ended the speculation with an acerbic observation: “The Ideal Husband? There couldn’t be such a thing. The institution is wrong” (Act 2). In his new play, Wilde set about exploring the corruptions inherent in the institution of marriage, and by extension, in society at large. In October he moved …

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Markey, Anne. "An Ideal Husband". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 March 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6622, accessed 27 September 2016.]