A mysterious figure from Robert Chiltern’s youth, and a former attachment of Mrs. Cheveley’s. In his lifetime, he preached the utter importance of power. He exists in the play not as a person but as an idea: he is the abstract version of Mrs. Cheveley’s corruption, the amoral root of all Robert’s troubles.
The timeline below shows where the character Baron Arnheim appears in An Ideal Husband. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Part 2
Act 1, Part 3
...young, and a secretary to an important official, he sold a government secret: he advised Baron Arnheim to buy shares in the Suez Canal, knowing that the English government would invest heavily... (full context)
Act 2, Part 1
Act 3, Part 1
...He has also learned that Mrs. Cheveley is more or less untouchable in Vienna, because Baron Arnheim left her most of his fortune. Lord Goring takes Phipps aside and tells him that... (full context)