Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) is best known as a dramatist, despite writing a wide range of poetry, essays, and fairy tales (as well as one novel) during his tragically short life. His witty, clever dramas, populated by brilliant talkers skilled in the art of riposte and paradox, are still staples of the ... stage.
The plot of An Ideal Husband revolves around a blackmail scheme that forces a married couple to reconsider their moral standards, providing a wry commentary on the rarity of politicians who can claim to be ethically pure along the way. A supporting cast of young lovers, society matronesses, an overbearing father, and a formidable femme fatale exchange sparkling repartee throughout the play, keeping the action moving along at a fast pace.
This enthralling drawing-room comedy is wise, well-constructed, and deeply satisfying, as are most of Wilde's plays. An Ideal Husbandis a must-read for Wilde fans, students of English literature, and anyone delighted by wit, urbanity, and timeless sophistication. It was an instant success when it premiered in 1895, and it continues to delight audiences over a century later.