Oscar Wilde uses dramatic irony in "An Ideal Husband" to show how mishappenings and miscommunication can slash the trust shared between two individuals. In the third act, Wilde has Robert walk into Goring’s drawing room to find Mrs. Cheveley in the room (with Goring thinking it is “his own wife” that is in the room). The audience already knows it is Mrs. Cheveley in the drawing room, but the playwright utilizes dramatic irony in this scene to emphasize on how unclear communication between both Lord Goring and Phipps and unclear communication between Lord Goring and Sir Robert causes Sir Robert to distrust his friend and name his as “treacherous as an enemy.” In doing so, Wilde displays how certain factors out of one’s control can affect one’s relationship- and the trust one has- with others in a matter of minutes.
Wilde similarly employs dramatic irony through the characters' descriptions of one another. When Lady Chiltern asserts that "[Mrs. Cheveley] is incapable of understanding an upright nature like [Sir Robert Chiltern's]," the audience understands the tragedy of Lady Chiltern's blind love for her husband, because, he is, after all, guilty of a "secret scandal."
Wilde infuses stage direction in order construct a facade of suspicion in "An Ideal Husband". To elaborate, "[hoarsely]" displays the lack of confidence within Sir Robert Chiltern's self to speak in a loud, clarion voice. "[Biting his lip] employs Chiltern's nervous energy releasing causing his mind to flutter for a valid response. "[Bewildered and unnerved]" demonstrates the dagger-like stab in the chest creating dual emotions at once. This ingenious tactic justifies the plethora of strife between the clashing characters.
Furthermore, the audience sees how distraught Sir Robert Chiltern is at the mere thought of his wife discovering his past dishonest dealings, for he "([buries] his face in his hands)." The extreme shame and guilt Sir Robert feels are not only clear to the viewers but also to Lord Goring, who "(after a pause)" hesitantly continues his questioning.
I totally feel you when you talk about the "facade" the playwright creates but you can easily embed quotes for example instead of saying "'[Bewildered and unnerved] demonstrates the dagger-like stab in the chest creating dual emotions at once'" you can say "The '[bewildered and unnerved]' words employed by Wilde demonstrates the...blahblahblah" or instead of the "[biting his lip]......" you can say "Wilde emphasizes on Chiltern's nervous energy...(blahblah)........when he '[bites his lip]'" This way your peel doesn't sound choppy, and you're keeping the same exact words just placing them so that it flows :)))))))) luv u tho vero.
Excellent point, Alejandra!
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