Thursday 18 February 2010

An Ideal Husband

Well, don't be mislead by the title. I am neither going to talk about the 'ideal' husband nor give you insights about obtaining one. To start with there is nothing 'ideal.' One can dream, fantasise and even imagine that there exists something 'ideal' but then I am sorry to have punctured your rosy little dream-world. Wasn't that a fitting exposition to this post. You may have to agree with me here as now comes the 'real' post.

If you have been enamoured by somebody called Oscar Wilde then you would have probably guessed that the title belongs to one of his plays. When I browsed through the television pages for picking a good movie, the title of this movie caught my eye: 'An Ideal Husband.' I must confess that in spite of having read other plays by Mr. Wilde, I haven't read this one and to add to the treat was Rupert Everett in the cast. I had liked and almost adored Everett's role in 'The Importance of Being Earnest.' As Algernon Moncreiff or the lovable Algy, he did complete justice to the character. Similarly his lines in 'An Ideal Husband' were also swimming and witty. I know that these were Wilde's lines but then Everett can be seen as a slice of Wilde himself.

The play/movie talks about the romantic notions of 'an ideal husband' and takes careful steps to break them one by one. While the focus of the play is on the 'ideal husband,' I could connect the theme to anything that is considered 'ideal.' These days we have many lovely gifts which say 'To my ideal wife,' or 'To my ideal daughter,' but does the complete 'ideal' exist? One can attribute the ideal qualities to super-humans or even perhaps the divine but in the mortal race, can we strive for the 'idle?' Well, feet of clay is part of every individual. Isn't it?

It's amazing how Wilde manages to break the tinted vision of many individuals through his plays which are high on humour and witty repartees but at the same time drive home the crude realities of life. Probably that is why he employs liberal dosages of humour to the truths of life that many want to rubbish away. Even in 'The Importance of Being Earnest,' he breaks the ideals of class and gender.

Taking examples from his own life, he was no way close to the ideal. His wild ways and wilder dressing habits brought about sharp criticisms from many sections of the people. But then if he chose to be 'ideal' we wouldn't have had such lovely plays and memorable lines.

Some lines from his plays to give you a peek into his thoughts and wit:

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his. (The Importance of Being Earnest)

Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die. (The Importance of Being Earnest)

All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive. All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon. (An Ideal Husband) 

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself. (An Ideal Husband) 

Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. (An Ideal Husband)

I don't at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited. (An Ideal Husband)

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. (An Ideal Husband) One of my favourites. I dedicate this splendid quote to all my readers.


  1. I love Oscar Wilde-- read The Importance of Being Ernest at 14 and was hooked:-) his humor makes the bitter pill of satire go down easier and he had a lot to say about society and human behavior-- sad how little things have changed

  2. Pinkpackrat:

    Welcome to the Meanderings. Glad to have you stop by. Read Wilde at 14!!! Ah! that was quite young a age to read Wilde. Well said: Things are much the same and further worse than what it was.

    Nice of you to have taken the time. Come by often.

    Joy always.

  3. Once again, a truly wonderful post from you! so enjoyed reading this dear Susan.

    I agree with you, *ideal* does not exist. Or rather, just like happiness, *ideal* is a state of mind. It is as versatile, as there are people in the world. And it takes a knowledge on one self. If you know yourself well, you know what you find ideal. But I know that knowing oneself well is the hardest thing of them all.;)

    And Oscar Wilde! Ah yes, my favorite man!
    He also had another quote, which is my very personal favorite; "The only way to get rid of a temptation, is to fall for it", or something like that.;) And I seem to be living by that very quote.;))

    Lovely read my dear!

  4. And oh, I love your new profile picture!;))

  5. Zuzana,

    I also like this quote from him: "I can resist anything but temptation" and he is Irish like your Irish man.

    Joy and much love always.

  6. My my.. We seem to have a Gayathri Spivak in Chennai..

  7. U changed ur Profile pic! I liked the other one somehow, matched ur profile description.

    I love Mr. Wilde. the attachment started with the Selfish Giant at an age when authors didn't matter at all, and then it went on to the Happy Prince and when I started reading Wilde seriously after we had a text in school The importance of Being Earnest and we staged the play! I was the avaricious lady, the mother of Gwendeline! heee..

    Just into Act 1 of the Ideal Husband... truly Wilde!

    Cya and good night to u
    Sweet dreams too

  8. Freddy:

    Did you understand what I wrote? If yes, then I am NOT Spivak. You and your comments. AHHHHHHHH. Anyway this is your first comment on a recent post so you are forgiven. The Lady forgives the Lord.


    Nice to see a comment from you. You have already started reading!!!??? Hilarious isn't it? Ah! you were Lady Bracknell. Such a snob was she.

    Good Night to you as well. Dream of 'An ideal Husband.'

    Joy always.

  9. Reached here thru ur comment:)& enjoyed reading ur posts!
    Would keep returning to catch up:)

  10. Mindspace:

    Thanks for the return visit and glad that you enjoyed your time here. Would love to see more of you in the meanderings.

    Joy always.

  11. The last quote in your very interesting post is also my favourite. I believe that to To love oneself is the key and starting point to the love of others.

  12. I remember doing "The Importance of Being Earnest" in Drama class when I was in high school. It was amazing! And since then, Wilde has stuck with me. I do have to admit, Susan, of the lines you've selected, I like this one best: All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive. All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon. Maybe I'm just a believer in the power of true love like that.


  13. I loved the first and the fifth one the most.

  14. DUTA: Very true. Loving oneself is the starting point. I believe that Wilde knew the human nature quite well and that he wonderfully unravels in his works laced with humour and wit.

    Nevine: Many of us have memories of reading Wilde either in school or University. Nevine, I know for sure that you are a believer in the power of love. All your writings reflect that.

    Sameera: Very well. The others are also not all that bad. Don't you think so?

    Joy always and thanks for coming by and leaving your imprints. It is invaluable.

  15. How true! "Ideal" does not exist. But that shouldn't stop anybody (husband or wife) from making efforts to move towards ideal. The sad part is, many couples do not understand that it takes efforts from both sides to achieve this aim.

    Loved the Oscar Wilde quotes. The only time I read Oscar Wilde, was in school, when some play of his was a part of our curriculum.

  16. Vinay: I guess nearly everyone (the ones who have been 'educated') strive to reach the ideal little knowing that it simply does not exist. And there are some who search a lifetime for it and die unsatisfied while some realise that everyday is a process and live happily with that knowledge. I guess the second ones are the intelligent ones.

    Hope the quotes prod you to read some of his works which I am sure you will enjoy and savour.

    Joy always.

  17. I like Oscar Wilde...his wit is great, he was a thinker outside the box. Sarah

  18. Dear Sarah:

    Thanks for coming by. Been long. He does think and never fails to convey what he thinks. Quite a brilliant and clever man, that Wilde.

    Joy and blessings always.

  19. Hi, a friend recommended this movie, so I'm waiting for the
    movie to return to cable.
    Loving some of these droll
    comments that pack a wallop.

  20. Cynthia:

    First: Accept my apologies for not coming by your blog quite often. Second: It is a pleasure to have you here and thanks for coming by. Its a joy!

    Yeah, all the comments are quite interesting and engaging. You should read some of the blogs of these lovely people. I am sure it will succinctly amuse and enrich you.

    Joy always.

  21. Great blog Susan,
    Love your meanderings.Sending along this great poem by a Tao master which resonates with your blog:
    "Dwell plainly in calm silence,
    A delicate heart sensitive to small things,
    Drink from the harmony of yin and yang,
    wing off with a solitary crane;
    and like soft breezes
    trmbling in you gown,
    the rustle of slender bamboo,
    a beauty will stay with you"

    Warmly, swarna

  22. Ma'am:

    What a lovely surprise! I am indeed honoured by your visit. Many thanks for coming by and sharing a lovely poem. Love you!

    Joy and peace always.



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