An Ideal Husband

A well-dressed, intelligent, manipulative woman who is faintly connected to all three protagonists. She went to school with Lady Chiltern, was briefly engaged to Lord Goring, and has a fateful mutual friend with Sir Robert. Her dandyism superficially resembles Lord Goring’s in its preoccupation with fashion, wit, and pleasure, but there is a fundamental difference between them. Lord Goring seeks to separate conventional values from private values, their appearance from their reality, in order to honor that reality. Mrs. Cheveley seeks to conflate appearance with reality in order to discredit and trivialize moral reality, the empathetic moral core beneath the ornament of politeness. She implies that no such thing exists. This attitude, which initially seems like a sort of sophistication, is finally exposed as blindness.

Mrs. Cheveley Quotes in An Ideal Husband

The An Ideal Husband quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Cheveley or refer to Mrs. Cheveley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of An Ideal Husband published in 2000.
Act 1, Part 2 Quotes

SIR ROBERT CHILTERN
You prefer to be natural?

MRS. CHEVELEY
Sometimes. But it is such a very difficult pose to keep up.

Related Characters: Sir Robert Chiltern (speaker), Mrs. Cheveley (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Act 1, Part 3 Quotes

Nowadays, with our modern mania for morality, every one has to pose as a paragon of purity, incorruptibility, and all the other seven deadly virtues—and what is the result? You all go over like ninepins—one after the other.

Related Characters: Mrs. Cheveley (speaker), Sir Robert Chiltern
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 2, Part 2 Quotes

The art of living. The only really Fine Art we have produced in modern times.

Related Characters: Mrs. Cheveley (speaker)
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

Related Characters: Mrs. Cheveley (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident,

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Mrs. Cheveley Character Timeline in An Ideal Husband

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Cheveley appears in An Ideal Husband. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Part 1
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...guests enter: a nice older woman named Lady Markby, and a striking red-haired woman named Mrs. Cheveley , who has recently come from Vienna. Lady Chiltern realizes, with visible displeasure, that she... (full context)
Act 1, Part 2
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
Wit, Charm, and Contrariness Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...He chats with Lady Markby, who offers to introduce him to her interesting new friend, Mrs. Cheveley . They talk pleasantly, though Mrs. Cheveley alludes a little condescendingly to Lady Chiltern’s schoolgirl... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Sir Robert asks why Mrs. Cheveley has decided to visit London, and, in the midst of a flutter of verbal play,... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
...not wish to be considered romantic until late middle age. Sir Robert introduces him to Mrs. Cheveley , but the two have met before. Mrs. Cheveley wanders off, and Lord Goring banters... (full context)
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Wit, Charm, and Contrariness Theme Icon
...husbands, who are too perfect and upstanding to be any fun, and gossip cattily about Mrs. Cheveley and her rapid entrance into London society. (full context)
Act 1, Part 3
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Mrs. Cheveley and Robert Chiltern walk into the living room as the others pass out. She tells... (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...report to the House of Commons about the Canal the following evening. To his shock, Mrs. Cheveley tells him that he must lie about the Commission’s report and tell the House that... (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Robert is horrified and lost. He repeatedly refuses to do as Mrs. Cheveley asks, but he is also terrified by her threats: he wavers helplessly between bad and... (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Meanwhile, the other guests return from dinner. Lady Markby chatters pleasantly to Mrs. Cheveley about the noble, upstanding character of the Chilterns, then leaves with Lord Caversham. Meanwhile, Lady... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
...the room. Mabel says her goodbyes and leaves; Lady Chiltern complains to Lord Goring about Mrs. Cheveley ’s scheming, and he says good night as well. He leaves just as Robert enters. (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...distress, why he has agreed to support the Argentine Canal scheme. At school, she says, Mrs. Cheveley was known for lying and stealing, and for her generally unpleasant and unkind nature –... (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...himself – otherwise, she cannot go on loving him. She convinces Robert to write to Mrs. Cheveley and retract his promise. (full context)
Act 2, Part 1
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...now is tell his wife everything. Goring mentions that he was once briefly engaged to Mrs. Cheveley , and tells Robert that he must find a way to fight her, perhaps using... (full context)
Act 2, Part 2
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...reenters and sits down to talk to Lord Goring about her husband’s mysterious dealings with Mrs. Cheveley . Awkwardly, Lord Goring tries to tell her to be a bit more merciful –... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...talk so much about his affairs. Mabel runs out, comes back in, and announces that Mrs. Cheveley is on her way. (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Lady Markby and Mrs. Cheveley enter. Mabel briefly says hello and runs off to pose in a tableau – a... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Wit, Charm, and Contrariness Theme Icon
The butler brings in tea, and Lady Markby rambles about family feuds. Mrs. Cheveley notes that parents nowadays must learn “the art of living” from their children – “the... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
As soon as Lady Markby leaves, Lady Chiltern drops all pretense of pleasantness. She tells Mrs. Cheveley that she does not wish to see her again socially: she doesn’t want to receive... (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Just then, Robert walks in, Mrs. Cheveley announces triumphantly that Robert made his fortune by selling a government secret. After observing the... (full context)
Act 3, Part 1
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...arrives. The bell rings, but Lord Goring must rush off to join his father. Soon Mrs. Cheveley walks into the library, radiant and splendidly dressed. She looks into the drawing-room with a... (full context)
Romance, Boredom, and Delight Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Wit, Charm, and Contrariness Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Suddenly, Lord Goring and Lord Caversham walk back into the library, and Mrs. Cheveley hides in the drawing-room. Father and son are still discussing marriage. Lord Caversham explains that... (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Just then, Sir Robert walks in. He tells Goring despairingly that Mrs. Cheveley has revealed his shameful secret to his wife. He has also learned that Mrs. Cheveley... (full context)
Act 3, Part 2
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...and decides to look for himself. When he looks into the drawing room, he sees Mrs. Cheveley ; Goring, however, thinks that the woman waiting there is Lady Chiltern. In the conversation... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Wit, Charm, and Contrariness Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
A content-looking Mrs. Cheveley enters the library. Lord Goring is shocked to see her. He tells her he wants... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Finally, Mrs. Cheveley speaks openly: she will give him Robert’s letter if he agrees to marry her. Lord... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Lord Goring tells her that her malice toward Lady Chiltern is unforgivable. Mrs. Cheveley replies that her goal is not to torment Lady Chiltern; she only visited her, she... (full context)
The Natural and the Artificial Theme Icon
The Trivial and the Serious Theme Icon
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Lord Goring tells Mrs. Cheveley he will now call the police. Only on one condition will he refrain from calling:... (full context)
Act 4, Part 1
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...room, and Mabel leaves them to speak in private. Lord Goring tells Lady Chiltern that Mrs. Cheveley gave him the incriminating letter, and that he has burned it. He also admits that... (full context)
Act 4, Part 2
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...no longer fears public disgrace, because he has her love. She happily informs him that Mrs. Cheveley gave his incriminating letter to Lord Goring: Robert is safe. He is overwhelmed by relief.... (full context)
Love, Morality, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...marriage. At first Robert does not grant it, thinking that Goring is in love with Mrs. Cheveley . But Lady Chiltern explains the whole misunderstanding – Goring was waiting for her, and... (full context)