Satire : Can You Handle This Heat?

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Satire: Can You Handle This Heat? An Ideal Husband, written by the brilliant Oscar Wilde, intrigues the reader into a comedic play that regards political corruption, blackmail, social status, and of course—marriage. As Wilde writes this play in the year 1895, he largely incorporates several satirical elements to deliver his intended message. In this play, Wilde heavily relies on irony, exaggeration, and sarcasm to successfully convey his underlying message to his audience. One successful element Wilde utilizes to deliver his satirical message through to the reader is the use of irony. Sir Robert Chiltern—a character portrayed as an honest, noble man (not only by himself but immensely by his wife) largely involved in politics. As Mrs. Cheveley and Sir Robert Chiltern discuss politics, Chiltern comments how his “political life is a noble career”, yet later in the play, the readers discover the “origin” and “wealth” of Sir Robert’s career—a “letter” sold to Baron Arnheim that withheld confidential state secrets (15). Wilde utilizes this example of verbal and dramatic irony to characterize political corruption and social status in 1895, illustrating how everyone, even the most “noble”, withhold their own shocking secrets. Chiltern, as well as other political gurus of the era, grasp to telling lies make themselves appear merely perfect to any crowd, to solely boost their social status and trustworthiness as a political leader. Politics invents an extremely dangerous game; the
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