An Ideal Husband

Oscar Wilde
Writing Help

Suggested Essay Topics

Writing Help Suggested Essay Topics

In Act I, Mrs. Cheveley's tells Sir Robert: "Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are." In Act II, Goring tells Sir Robert: "It is always worthwhile asking a question, though it is not always worthwhile answering one." With these quotes in mind, discuss how moments of interrogation function in the play.

In Act III, Lord Caversham tells Lord Goring that he hates paradox. In what ways does Goring use paradox in his speech? What are the effects of such use?

Discuss Wilde's techniques of characterization. How does he make use of art work in drawing the introductory "portraits" of his players? How does he make use of costume? What are the differences in the speech of individual characters? You may choose to focus on two or three characters to make comparisons.

Discuss how the play constructs Mrs. Cheveley's femininity. For example: why is she described as lamia-like? You may want to consider her dialogue, dialogue about her, her costumes, etc.