An Ideal Husband (Unabridged)

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2023
3 hours 11 minutes
An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde Audiobook is a four-act play by Oscar Wilde that revolves around blackmail and political corruption, and touches on the themes of public and private honour. It was first produced at the Haymarket Theatre, London in 1895 and ran for 124 performances. It has been revived in many theatre productions and adapted for the cinema, radio and television.

Sir Robert - a member of the House of Commons and junior government minister - and his wife, Lady Chiltern, are hosting a gathering that includes his friend Lord Goring, a dandified bachelor, Chiltern's sister Mabel and other guests. During the party, Mrs Cheveley, an enemy of Lady Chiltern from their schooldays, attempts to blackmail Sir Robert into supporting a fraudulent scheme to build a canal in Argentina. Her late mentor and lover, Baron Arnheim, induced the young Chiltern to sell him a Cabinet secret - which enabled Arnheim to buy shares in the Suez Canal Company three days before the British government announced its purchase of the company.

Arnheim's payoff was the basis of Sir Robert's fortune, and Mrs Cheveley has Robert's letter to Arnheim as proof of his crime. Fearing the ruin of both career and marriage, Sir Robert submits to her demands. When Mrs Cheveley pointedly informs Lady Chiltern of Sir Robert's change of heart regarding the canal scheme, the morally inflexible Lady Chiltern, unaware of both her husband's past and the blackmail plot, insists that Sir Robert renege on his promise to Mrs Cheveley. For Lady Chiltern, their marriage is predicated on her having an 'ideal husband'-that is, a model spouse in both private and public life whom she can worship; thus, Sir Robert must remain unimpeachable in all his decisions. Sir Robert complies with her wishes and apparently seals his doom.

Goring urges Chiltern to fight Mrs Cheveley and admit his guilt to his wife. He also reveals that he and Mrs Cheveley were once engaged. After finishing his conversation with Chiltern, Goring engages in flirtatious banter with Mabel. He also takes Lady Chiltern aside and obliquely urges her to be less morally inflexible and more forgiving.
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