An Ideal Husband

Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of An Ideal Husband published in 2000.
Act 1, Part 1 Quotes

Oh, I love London Society! I think it has immensely improved. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be.

Related Characters: Mabel Chiltern (speaker)
Page Number: 3
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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
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Oh! I am not at all romantic. I am not old enough. I leave romance to my seniors.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Page Number: 8
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I love talking about nothing, father. It is the only thing I know anything about.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Page Number: 9
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LORD CAVERSHAM
You seem to me to be living entirely for pleasure.

LORD GORING
What else is there to live for, father? Nothing ages like happiness.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker), Lord Caversham (speaker)
Page Number: 9
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I like looking at geniuses, and listening to beautiful people.

Related Characters: Mrs. Marchmont and Lady Basildon (speaker)
Page Number: 11
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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
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Robert, that is all very well for other men, for men who treat life simply as a sordid speculation; but not for you, Robert, not for you. You are different. All your life you have stood apart from others. You have never let the world soil you. To the world, as to myself, you have been an ideal always. Oh! be that ideal still.

Related Characters: Lady Gertrude Chiltern (speaker), Sir Robert Chiltern
Page Number: 22
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Act 2, Part 1 Quotes

Ah! I prefer a gentlemanly fool any day. There is more to be said for stupidity than people imagine.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Page Number: 26
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In fact, I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Page Number: 28
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Act 2, Part 2 Quotes

Nobody is incapable of doing a foolish thing. Nobody is incapable of doing a wrong thing.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Page Number: 33
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All I do know is that life cannot be understood without much charity, cannot be lived without much charity. It is love, and not German philosophy, that is the true explanation of this world, whatever may be the explanation of the next.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Page Number: 33
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When Tommy wants to be romantic he talks to one just like a doctor.

Related Characters: Mabel Chiltern (speaker), Tommy Trafford
Page Number: 35
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The art of living. The only really Fine Art we have produced in modern times.

Related Characters: Mrs. Cheveley (speaker)
Page Number: 40
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Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

Related Characters: Mrs. Cheveley (speaker)
Page Number: 42
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Act 3, Part 1 Quotes

One sees that [Lord Goring] stands in immediate relation to modern life, makes it indeed, and so masters it. He is the first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring
Related Symbols: The Buttonhole
Page Number: 45
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And falsehoods [are] the truths of other people.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Buttonhole
Page Number: 46
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But women who have common sense are so curiously plain, father, aren’t they?

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker), Lord Caversham
Page Number: 51
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Act 4, Part 1 Quotes

Youth isn’t an affectation. Youth is an art.

Related Characters: Lord Arthur Goring (speaker)
Page Number: 65
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Well, my duty is a thing I never do, on principle. It always depresses me.

Related Characters: Mabel Chiltern (speaker)
Page Number: 67
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Act 4, Part 2 Quotes

An ideal husband! Oh, I don’t think I should like that. It sounds like something in the next world….He can be what he chooses. All I want is to be . . . to be . . . oh! a real wife to him.

Related Characters: Mabel Chiltern (speaker), Lord Arthur Goring
Page Number: 78
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