An Ideal Husband

“Masks, Poses, Facades, Deceptions- all are weapons in the battle of life”. 11th Grade

Throughout ‘An Ideal Husband’, the “battle of life” is portrayed in numerous ways by numerous different characters. For example. Robert Chiltern deceives those around him by selling a cabinet secret, and Mrs Cheveley wears the mask of good intentions when in reality she only wants to make money. The only common denominator is the fact that the characters in the play all lie and deceive others for their own benefit.

Sir Robert Chiltern’s use of deception in the play is by far the most high profile out of all the characters. After all his great fortune, of which the play’s setting is largely based around, was all funded by his dishonest method of making money in selling a cabinet secret about the Suez Canal Scheme. This “swindle” as Mrs Cheveley referred to it, propelled Robert into the Government and founded his reputation as being a true gentleman and valued member of Parliament. In terms of Robert using the swindle to aid him in the “battle of life”, he speaks to Lord Goring about his life before he met Baron Arnheim. He tells Lord Goring that he had the “misfortune of being well born and poor” and that Goring “never knew what ambition was” in the way he did, which would further develop the idea that Chiltern used the medium...

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