This post is going to be dedicated to Oscar Wilde’s comedic stage play of 1895. It treats topics which have ever existed, namely blackmail, love, decisions and political corruption. No matter when the play is staged these matters are always present and true.
All secrets from the past are always revealed sooner or later. This applies also to Sir Robert Chiltern who is a honoured member of the House of Commons. When he was young and not that experienced, he was advised and convinced by Baron Arnheim to sell him a political secret. The lad was supposed to buy stocks in the deal related to the construction of the Suez Canal just a couple of days before the government of the country announced its purchase. That way young Robert made his enormous fortune and married his wife – Lady Chiltern.
After lots of years of a prosperous career and happy marriage, a letter to prove his crime threatens everything he has. It was given to Mrs. Cheveley (a very beautiful but at the same time “dangerous” woman) by her already dead mentor and lover, i.e. Baron Arnheim. The fatal woman appears at the dinner party at the Chilterns’ home. The two ladies have been enemies since their school days and the sudden appearance of Mrs. Cheveley in London and at the party, signs the beginning of numerous troubles for the family because there are several attempts of blackmailing of Sir Robert into supporting the projects of the construction of a canal in Argentina.
Lady Chiltern has always lived in the illusion that she is married to the “ideal husband” who is a model of spouse both in his marriage and career. Unfortunately, she is disappointed when she gets to know about his beloved husband’s past and the blackmail plot owing to which he managed to make his fortune.
After a great number of obstacles, plot complications and a theft of a piece of jewelry, the play a happy ending. The little misunderstandings regarding his wife’s letter to Lord Goring are clarified. Mrs. Cheveley is “disarmed” and the letter is destroyed. Sir Robert denounces the Argentine canal and his marriage is already safe.