An Ideal Husband is about a group of rich people in London during the 1890s. Sir Robert Chiltern, is the ‘ideal husband’ who works in the government’s foreign office and has a happy marriage, or does he?
In Act 1, a beautiful and sophisticated woman called Mrs Cheveley arrives. She has been out of England. Her arrival brings trouble for Sir Robert. She has a secret letter about him and she wants him to get the government to agree to a building plan for Argentina, which will make her rich. Sir Robert tells his wife, Lady Chiltern. She asks him not to do what Mrs Cheveley wants. Mrs Cheveley then tells Lady Chiltern that Sir Robert once sold a government secret to a businessman for money. This information is revealed in Mrs Cheveley’s ‘letter’. In fact, Mrs Cheveley is using the letter to blackmail Sir Robert.