Oscar Wilde is one of the most iconic figures of late Victorian society. Enjoying a dizzying rise to the top of the company. His wit, humor and intelligence shine through in his works and in his writings. For his sexuality she suffered the humiliation and shame of imprisonment. For a long time his name was synonymous with scandal and intrigue. However, with changing social attitudes, he is remembered fondly for his biting social criticism, wit and language skills.
“To go back to my youth, I would do anything in the world, except exercise, get up early or be respectable.”
– Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. His parents were well known and attracted their share of gossip for their extravagant lifestyle. In 1964 his father Wille Wilde was knighted for his services to medicine. However, his pride in receiving this honor was overshadowed by an allegation of rape by one of his patients. Although it has never been proven, he casts a shadow over William Wilde.
Oscar Wilde proved to be a very talented student. He received a scholarship from Trinity College Dublin. Here he studied the classics, developing in particular an interest in Greek philosophers and the Hellenistic view of life. From Trinity College he won a scholarship to Magdalen College at Oxford University. He enjoyed himself in Oxford and was able to develop his poetic sensibility and love of literature. He has also become more aware of his bisexual nature than he is. For his growing “feminine” attire he often received sticks from more “traditional” Oxford students. He was a brilliant scholar but also increasingly rebellious. In one academic year he was convicted of passing college 3 weeks after the term started. So after a while he lost interest in pursuing an academic career at Oxford and moved to London. It was in London that he was able to skillfully enter high society, quickly becoming known as a playwright and great spirit. Oscar Wilde became famous throughout London society. He was one of the first “celebrities” in some respects he was famous for being famous. His suit was a target of cartoon satire, but Wilde didn’t seem to care. In fact, he learned the art of self-advertising and seemed to enjoy himself, at least until his trial in 1898.Etobicokeextermination.ca
Oscar Wilde’s trial gripped the nation, the subject of intense gossip and speculation. For his “crime” of homosexual acts Wilde was subjected to 2 years of forced labor in Wandsworth and then in Reading Gaol. It is no understatement to say that this experience deeply shocked and influenced the previously exuberant Wilde. In some ways he never really recovered, on his release he left for Paris where he lived in relative anonymity. However he retained his wit and continued to write, heavily influenced by his experiences of chastisement. Of these post-prison writings, his poem “Ballad of Reading Gaol is perhaps the best known, illustrating a new dimension to Wilde’s writing.
“I’ve never seen a man who looked
With such a melancholy eye
On that little blue tent
That the prisoners call the sky “.
Although Wilde could not return to his previous level of writing, he developed new skills while retaining his sharp intellect. How Johnathon Fryer commented on the final part of Oscar Wilde’s life that he was.
“beaten but not bowed, still a clown behind a tragedy mask.”
Wilde’s life was turbulent and unstable. Never run out of accidents. He reflected her inner paradoxes and revolutionary views of him. In some ways he was both a saint and a sinner. Rightly or wrongly Wilde is remembered as much for his life as for his writings. However he himself said.
“I put my talent into writing, I kept my genius for a living.”
His writings partly reflect his paradoxical view of life, suggesting that things were not always as they appeared. As his biographer Richard Ellman said about Wilde.
“Along with Blake and Nietzche, he was proposing that good and evil are not what they are