An Ideal Husband – Duologue – 14+ Yrs


This society comedy was first produced in 1895 at the Haymarket Theatre London. The play is set mainly in the Grosvenor Square home of Sir Robert Chiltern, respected politician and Undersecretary for foreign affairs. He and LADY CHILTERN are entertaining guests, one of whom is the fascinating but unscrupulous Mrs Cheveley. During the evening MRS CHEVELEY contrives to speak to Sir Robert privately. She has a large investment in an Argentine canal scheme, which Sir Robert has publicly denounced as a swindle. She informs him that it will be in his interest to reconsider his position and withdraw his report on the matter. If he refuses, she has information in her possession that will ruin him. The following morning MRS CHEVELEY receives a note from Sir Robert refusing to accede to her demands, and in this scene she confronts LADY CHILTERN.

MRS. CHEVELEY: I see that after all these years you have not changed a bit, Gertrude. LADY CHILTERN: I never change. MRS. CHEVELEY: (Elevating her eyebrows) Then life has taught you nothing? LADY CHILTERN: It has taught me that a person who has once been guilty of a dishonest and dishonourable action may be guilty of it a second time, and should be shunned. MRS. CHEVELEY: Would you apply that rule to every one? LADY CHILTERN: Yes, to everyone, without exception.


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