Examination of a character in Oscar wilde's "An Ideal Husband". Essay about the role in the play of Lord Goring

Essay by eterniteeUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2003

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Lord Goring is the one who undoes all the trouble in the play. Although he is said to be "good-for-nothing" and heartless, he is the most useful and heartful character in the play. At the end of the play, he makes Lady Chiltern realise how love and forgiveness can get over her strict morality. He also shows how heartful he is when he declares her love to Mabel Chiltern. He chooses to have a pleasant private life rather than a great political career like his friend Sir Robert Chiltern since he prefers being a bad husband who makes his wife happy to being a great politician who is boring and dull. Lord Goring is definitely the Deus-ex-machina in An Ideal Husband.

Hearing how Lady Chiltern recites the lesson she has just learnt from Lord Goring has a strong effect on the audience: half comical and half moving.

She has learnt that love comes before morality, so she forgives him and assumes her life has not got large scopes and great ambitions as her husband's. I guess she reacts that way partly because she sees she has nothing else to do. Since a woman is educated to believe that she needs a man near her, she cannot do anything else than to love him in spite of his defects. However, the audience gets the impression that her love is true and faithful, especially when she pronounces the closing sentence of the play: For both of us a new life is beginning. Having realised how important the goodness of the heart is in detriment of appearance and society's artifice, Lady Chiltern learns a valuable lesson from their older and best friend.

It is especially remarkable Lord Goring's answer to Sir Robert Chiltern's explanation of why...