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Can you help me please in comparing the theme of love in Wilde's An Ideal Husband and...

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msaaly | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 4, 2013 at 9:53 PM via web

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Can you help me please in comparing the theme of love in Wilde's An Ideal Husband and in William Congreve's Love for Love?

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currerbell | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM (Answer #1)

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In Wilde's An Ideal Husband, love is defined by Victorian ideals. A man should be intelligent, moral, loyal, honest, and a good provider. The ideal woman, however, was one who finds a man to marry her and then takes up her husbands interests. Lady Chiltern thinks she has this in Sir Robert. Sir Robert is content to let her think that he is just that good. 

In Congreve's Love for Love, deception is more transparent. Men are often cuckolds, or they are commonly cruel to their wives and lovers. Despite this, men are defined not by their love and goodness towards women but instead by how well they do in the word. Conversely, women are not at all defined as good or bad by worldy success but how loose or protective they are of their sexual favors. 

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