Friendship over a Bunch of Letters: A Friendly Analysis of Oscar Wilde Play An Ideal Husband
Nothing compares to a better reinforcement that every single people in the world always at least have one best people in their life that they admitted as a friend or best friend. From any cultural, country, age, sex, ideologies, even political and geographic background in other words, everyone in this world even they considered themselves as a ‘introverted’ one always had one best friend, in physical or imaginary way. Take look into this period play of Oscar Wilde titled An ideal Husband , the writer finds that friendship between Sir Robert Chiltern as main character of the story whose being troubled and harmed in the story and Lord Goring as a dandy philosopher and best friend that trying to save Chiltren’s life from the vile is catching a adequate attention to be discussed more. One might finds that friendship is a shallow or hard to be analyzed in an academic purpose, though many journals and academic articles discussed about it in the field of social communication, psychology, anthropology, sociology and it help the writer to academically discussed it. Such friendship characteristics include affection; sympathy; empathy; honesty; altruism; mutual understanding and compassion; enjoyment of each other’s company; trust; and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. From the characteristics mentioned above we could simply take a look over a close reading of the play and with evidences of dialog can be show the good friend qualities and compassionate relationship between Lord Goring and Sir Robert Chiltern. This essay aims to analyzed friendship value of Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband.
Friendship always be the quite significant thing that happened in one’s life. It is a bond that formed after a parental bonding and before pair bonding. It is so natural that from ancient times where people still hunt and gather for their life until this post-modern life where technology seems almost be a central part of humanity friendship is always inevitable part of one human life. On Oxford Dictionary, friend terms is described as ‘A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations’ . From the description we can underlined the words ‘bond of mutual affection’ that became the very basis of a friendship. The bond can be built and formed upon many conditions, generally 3 reasons, Proximity, nearness or having a place or places to interact, Repeated, unplanned interactions, and A setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other as stated in article in New York Times Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30? by Alex Williams. In this Oscar Wilde works we are going to discuss what friendship value that depicted in the story.
An Ideal Husband is a masterpiece, a well-known and remarkable work of Oscar Wilde, an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet after his notable work The Importance of Being Earnest. Written in 1893 and premiered at Haymarket Theatre on 3 January 1895, the play was very popular in its original run. The play’s theme is mostly talked about politics, blackmailing, marriage conflicts caused by distrust, past sins, even anti-upper class sentiments. But there is a subtle theme and act that happened in the story, it is a male bonding or friendship between two people, Sir Robert Chiltren was the most emerging of what so called politician at that time that in the story being threatened by his secret past sins which brought by a woman named Mrs. Cheveley and she threatened him to spread the story about his past sins iof he didn’t want to take part in her evil scheme. In short Robert felt confused and come to Lord Goring his friends to asking some advices about what should he did about that.
The story is a remarkable for Wilde’s style of writing and strong characterization that much appraised in a literary world. There are extensive use of wit phrase and dialog that immortalized imprinted all the time in collective memory such as “Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast”, the overt sexist “A man’s life is of more value than a woman’s.”, “Oh! Don’t use big words. They mean so little” and so on. The next thing that would be remarkable on the play is the use of letters for every important part of the story, actually, it is letters that drive the story up and down, it is the main physical reason or even a fuel why An Ideal Husband is working properly as a story. The letter that Mrs. Cheveley used to threatened Sir Robert Chiltren, the letter that Lady Chiltren sent to Lord Goring and misused cleverly by Mrs Cheveley to beat Sir Robert once again but failed in somewhat absurd way, and the letter Prime Minister sent to Sir Robert that said he had a position in Cabinet. The standpoint on the story is the attempt of Lord Goring to take over the letters about Sir Robert past sins that Mrs Cheveley had and burn it immediately once he got it. From the last sentence we can now start imagining how true and kind Lord Goring to do such smart trick to save his friend’s life from despair.
Oscar Wilde somewhat covertly conveyed the friendship value in the play. We can take a note that this is a Victorian period drama, it shows us the great time distance between this post-modern era back to the end of 19th century, precisely 122 years. Then we will later analyze the friendship values on the story that it obviously timeless.
This paper analyzed the value of friendship on in Oscar Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband toward male characters Sir Robert Chiltren and Lord Goring.
The first characteristics of friendship is empathy. According to Merriam-Webster, empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner. The characteristics presented at the Act 2 where Sir Robert Chiltren asking for advice to Lord Goring after previous night encountered by Mrs. Cheveley.
SIR ROBERT CHILTREN. [Pacing up and down the room.] Arthur, do you think that what I did nearly eighteen years ago should be brought up against me now? Do you think it fair that a man’s whole career should be ruined for a fault done in one’s boyhood almost? I was twenty-two at the time, and I had the double misfortune of being well-born and poor, two unforgiveable things nowadays. Is it fair that the folly , the sin of the youth, if men choose to call it a sin, should wreck a life like mine, should place me in the pillory, should shatter all that I have worked for, all that I have built up. Is it fair, Arthur?
LORD GORING. Life is never fair, Robert, And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is
It is shown above that from his words, Lord Goring saying something that he is agree with Sir Robert, a kind of act to calm down one troubled heart. By agreeing in someone troubled opinion like Sir Robert, it conveyed us that we ever felt that kind of situation and emotion. This is related to quality of good friends.
In kind three of Aristotle’s Three Kind of Friendship is those who befriend based on good. It is stated on his book The Nichomachean Ethics about this kind of friend ‘And to those who wish good things for their friends, for their friends’ sake, are friends most of all; for they do so because of the friends themselves, and not incidentally. So friendship between these lasts so long as they are good, and excellence is something lasting’. Wishing good in other is also called affection. This is the evidence
SIR ROBERT CHILTREN. Every man of ambition has to fight his century with its own weapons. What this century worships is wealth. The God of this century is wealth. To succeed one must have wealth. At all costs one must wealth
LORD GORING. You underrate yourself, Robert. Believe me, without wealth you could have succeeded just as well
Lord Goring embraces Sir Robert with his words. To make him feel better and not too guilty about his past background.
Another way of affection shown by Sir Roberts
SIR ROBERTS CHILTREN. [Takes LORD GORING’s hand] You have been a good friend to me, Arthur, a thoroughly good friend.
Those kind of confession is an example of affection.
Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. In An Ideal Husband drama, Lord Goring depict an altruism value that a sign of a good friendship. Lord Goring altruism is kind of act to make Sir Robert’s life better and avoiding deterioration.
LORD GORING. Never mind what I say, Robert! I am always saying what I shouldn’t say. In fact, I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood. As regards this dreadful business, I will help you in whatever way I can. Of course you know that.
It will later revealed on the Act 3 that he said a truth that he will help Sir Robert
LORD GORING. Lady Chiltren, I have a certain amount of very good news to tell you. Mrs. Cheveley gave me up Robert’s letter last night, and I burned it. Robert is safe.
LADY CHILTREN. [Sinking on the sofa] Safe! Oh! I am so glad of that. What a good friend you are to him — to us!
On the previous scene Lord Goring succeeded to trick back Mrs Chaveley into giving Sir Robert Chiltren’s rattled letter.
The later is perhaps the most recognized dialog of this dandy thinker showing his true altruism. It is on the near end of this play.
LORD GORING. [Pulling himself together for a great effort, and showing the philosopher that underlies the dandy.] Lady Chiltren, allow me. You wrote me a letter last night in which you said you trusted me and wanted my help. Now is the moment when you really want my help, now is the time when you have got to trust me, to trust in my counsel and judgment. You love Robert. Do you want to kill his love for you? What sort of existence will he have if you rob him of the fruits of his ambition, if you take him from the splendor of a great political career, if you close the doors of public life against him, if you condemn him to sterile failure, he who made for triumph and success? Women are not meant to judge us, but to forgive us when we need forgiveness. Pardon, not punishment, is their mission. Why should you scourge him with rods of a sin done in his youth, before he knew you, before he knew himself? A man’s life is of more value than a woman’s. It has larger issues, wider scope, greater ambitions. A woman’s life revolves in curves of emotions. It is upon lines of intellect that a man’s life progresses. Don’t make any terrible mistake, Lady Chiltren. A woman who can keep a man’s love, and love him in return, has done all the world wants of women, or should want of them
The three evidence above are good example of what altruism is. Showing a desire to help for other welfare. Lord Goring truly knew what is best for Chiltren’s. and he encourage them to do their best toward their own spouse, for their family’s sake.
The analysis of friendship character in An Ideal Husband is one kind of a traceback and deduction analysis of how friendship is potrayed on the story. If we are looking at the credo that any works resemblance of a certain culture where the works is produced, we then now that the value of friendship in the story, even it is 122 years ago, is a universal and timeless value. We still consider the values that Lord Goring had is a value that still current until now. What makes it values still apllied until today?
Human is a social creature that practically will always need somebody or someone human being to do his daily activities. Friends bonding formed because that social interaction. Aristotle wrote in his book The Nicomachean Ethics about three different kind of friendship and how they are formed. These friendship based reasons are; a. usefulness, b. pleasure, c. virtue. Usefulness is when two or more people becoming friends measured on how useful someone to each other. Second kind is friendship where emotion playing much role in their friendship, usually related to adolescent or platonic relationship. The last one is friendship that virtue is become the very basis, and virtue is timeless.
In the story it is depicted three basic characteristics of friendship that happened in the story, affection, empathy and altruism. There might out there any essays or paper that discussed about the relationship between Lord Goring and Sir Robert as a male Bonding and somewhat relate it to homosexual subtle motifs because Oscar Wilde is kind of that. But if we take a look outside the box we find that the basic is friendship that happened there. Lord Goring is in simple words, sacrifice to Sir Roberts, in the name of virtue. From this point we know that this kind of friendship is a Kind Three of Aristotle Kind of Friendship that based on good, they know that the person will be there for them through the good and the bad. Kind of friendship that always wishes the best for each other as shown by Lord Goring.
Based on the analysis of the previous chapter, the study comes to the following conclusions as follows: First, An Ideal Husband drama conveyed that good friend is a universal values that applied from time to time wherever we are. Second, thjs friendship between Lord Goring and Sir Robert Chiltren is fall into Kind Three of Aristotle’s Kind of friendship, a friendship based on virtue and good. Third, the message delivered by Oscar Wilde in An Ideal Husband drama is to regard and praised how a good friend is because a best friend is difficult to seek and once we meet it we have to appreciated them.
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