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.