Oscar Wilde gives us here one of his best plays. He explores the political world in London and how a young ambitious but poor man can commit a crime, which is a mistake, to start his good fortune. But he builds his political career on ethical principles. Sooner or later someone will come into the picture to blackmail him into supporting an unacceptable scheme, by producing a document that could ruin his career if revealed.

His past mistake may come back heavily onto him. But he resists and sticks to his moral reputation. He prefers doing what is right to yielding to some menace. He may lose though his political ambition and career and his wifes love. But love is saved by forgiveness and the mans career is also saved by the work of a real friend who recaptures the dubious document and destroys it. In other words love and an ethical career are saved by the burrying of the old mistake into oblivion. In other words love and friendship are stronger than the scheming action of a blackmailer.

This is a terrible criticism of victorian society which is based more on appearances than principles and yet able to destroy a mans absolutely ethical present life with a mistake from his youth, throwing the baby along with the water of the bath. It is also a criticism of the victorian political world where you cannot have a career if you are not rich, money appearing as the only way to succeed, at least to succeed fast. But it is a hopeful play because love and friendship are beyond such considerations and only consider the best interest of men and women, in the long run and in the name of absolute purity. Better be a sinner and be forgiven when you have reformed than see a reformed sinner destroyed by the lack of forgiveness.

Oscar Wilde advocates here a vision of humanity that necessitates forgiveness as the essential fuel of any rational approach. Real morality is not the everlasting guilt of a sinner without any possible reform. Real morality is the recognition that forgiveness is necessary when reform has taken place. Otherwise society would be unlivable and based on hypocrisy and the death or rejection of the best people in the name of (reformed) mistakes. One must not be that sectarian, because man can learn from his mistakes and improve along the road: one can learn how to avoid mistakes and repair those oen has committed. If condemnation is absolute, no progress is possible.

A very fascinating play, a very modern play. And yet when can one be considered as reformed, when can we consider one has really corrected ones mistakes and improved ? And who can deem such elements ? The very core of political and ethical rectitude is concerned here and Oscar Wilde embraces a generous approach.

  • ISBN13: 9781486146413
  • Publisher: Emereo Classics
  • Pubilcation Year: 2012
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 00060
Publication DateJune 14, 2012
Primary CategoryFiction/General
Publisher ImprintEmereo Classics

An Ideal Husband - The Original Classic Edition

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