Oscar Wilde's Young King

Oscar Wilde's Young King

Length: 1777 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Oscar Wilde's 'The Young King' is the tale of a young man's metamorphosis, through a dream quest, that opens his eyes to the heart rendering struggle of the poor, who are exploited by the rich and the powerful to satisfy their own selfish needs. The change that takes place in the Young King reflects his attainment of the virtue asked for in Christ's message.
The story begins with "the night before the day fixed for his coronation" and the young king, "being but sixteen years of age" sits alone in his opulent chambers adorned with rich and beautiful things. The boy who had been bought up by a peasant in the forest had a great love and fascination for beauty. Similarly "All rare and costly material things had certainly a great fascination for him" and his eagerness to procure them had sent merchants to all corners of the globe to get them.
But above all else, it was the robe that he was to wear at his coronation, made of tissue gold, the "ruby studded crown and the sceptre with its rows and rings of pearls" that mesmerized him. On that tranquil night when it struck midnight and he had been "disrobed with much ceremony", he fell asleep in no time and this was the dream he had.
He thought he was standing in a dark, dingy room "admits the whirr and clatter of many looms" with many "gaunt figures of weavers bending over their cases" They were tired yet worked hard and incessantly. "Their faces were pinched with famine and their thin hands shook and trembled." When the Young King asks one of the weavers who his master is, weaver cries out that he is just like him except that his master "wears fine clothes" while he himself "go in rags"
The young king reminds him that it was a free land and he was no man's slave. To which the weaver replies that "in war the strong make slaves of the weak and the in peace the rich make slaves of the poor." He goes on to speak of how the poor are deprived and exploited by the poor by bringing out the bitter irony of how they "tread out the grapes and another drinks the wine." He then talks of the sorrow-filled life of these workers. At the end he states young king wouldn't know as he isn't one of them as his "face is too happy.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Oscar Wilde's Young King." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Oscar Wilde and His Fairy Tales Essay

- Oscar Wilde and His Fairy Tales I. Introduction Wilde, Oscar (Fingal O’Flahertie Wills) (b. Oct. 16, 1854, Dublin, Ire ?d. Nov. 30, 1900, Paris, Fr.) Irish wit, poet and dramatist whose reputation rests on his comic masterpieces Lady Windermere’s Fan (1893) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1899). He was a spokesman for Aestheticism, the late19th-century movement in England that advocated art for art’s sake. However, Oscar Wilde’s takeoff of his enterprise and, his shaping of his characteristic style of works could be both considered originating from his fairy tales....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Fairy Tales Literature Essays]

Research Papers
5124 words (14.6 pages)

Homosexuality in the Works of Oscar Wilde Essay

- Homosexuality in Oscar Wilde's Work       "I turned half way around and saw Dorian Gray for the first time. I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself" (7). During the Victorian era, this was a dangerous quote. The Victorian era was about progress. It was an attempt aimed at cleaning up the society and setting a moral standard. The Victorian era was a time of relative peace and economic stability (Marshall 783)....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Research Papers
3111 words (8.9 pages)

Essay on The Biblical Story of Salome

- The Biblical Story of Salome Oscar Wilde had long been fascinated by the Biblical story of Salomé, princess of Judea, who danced for King Herod and asked for the head of St John the Baptist in return. So he decided to write down his own version of the tale; however, Wilde's Salomé turned out to be something quite special, and not just because it was written in French. The Gospel according to Mark and Matthew According to the Gospels, St John is beheaded on instigation of Herodias, Queen of Judea, who is fed up with the prophet's comments on her incestuous marriage with her brother-in-law, King Herod....   [tags: Religion, Wilde]

Free Essays
325 words (0.9 pages)

The Picture Of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde Essay

- In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray written by Oscar Wilde readers are presented with a vast depiction of the art of immorality in the face of ignorant innocence portrayed by the character Dorian Gray. In the beginning it seems to be a quaint novel on artistry and the paradoxical relationship between two lifelong friends by the name of Basil Hallward and Lord Henry. The plot takes a surprising twist when introduced to the real center of attention, the character of the seemingly innocent Dorian Gray....   [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde]

Research Papers
708 words (2 pages)

Essay on Oscar Wilde 's Life And Writing Career

- Introduction: All throughout the countries there are individuals who have the fear of aging and becoming old. In “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Dorian was terrified that his self-portrait would stay his young and beautiful self, while he himself became aged and wrinkled. With this fear, he wished that the painting would age while he stayed young. Consequently, his wish had came true but it turned out for the worst. Similar to Dorian, the individuals who do not want to face the lessening of beauty as he or she age, have the opportunity to undergo surgery....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Research Papers
2136 words (6.1 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- In Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the character Basil Hallward is enamored with Dorian Gray’s youth and innocence. This love for Dorian is an example of Greek love or boy love that would have been popular during the late Victorian age, especially with the decadence. However, this love would have been frowned upon and in the case of Wilde, legally held against him. In the first chapter of the novel, Basil and Harry began speaking about Dorian. Basil tells Harry of his feelings toward Dorian: The merely visible presence of this lad—for he seems to me little more than a lad, though he is really over twenty—his merely visible presence—ah....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Research Papers
819 words (2.3 pages)

Salome by Oscar Wilde Essay

- Salome by Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde’s gruesome and controversial play begs and important question. Who is Salome. In the bible this woman is not even given a name. She is the daughter of Herodias who dances for the pleasure of her stepfather, Herod. Perhaps the very fact that she remains unnamed is part of the mystery and problem that is Salome. There was no need to name this type of woman in patriarchal Christian religion. Yet, Salome’s story continues to inspire and terrify both her champions and her harshest critics....   [tags: Salome Oscar Wilde Essays]

Research Papers
1340 words (3.8 pages)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Essay

- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Art. It's Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art can be so beautiful or so hideous. So monotonous or poignant. So imaginative or clichéd. So………right or wrong. Art really has no moral, does it. Although the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray has no ethical stance, it was not Oscar Wilde's intention to have a moral. It was to show the splendor of art for art's sake. Through out the paperback of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, wildly shows his beliefs in art for art's sake (Cauti XIV)....   [tags: Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Analysis]

Free Essays
1814 words (5.2 pages)

Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband Essay

- Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband Oscar Wilde (1845-1903) lived an outrageous and controversial life which was well publicized and condemned, as his life defied the strict social mores of the time. He was put into this public position due to the success of his plays which challenged Victorian earnestness while being hilariously funny. His plays, in particular An Ideal Husband, 1895 portray Victorian society as viciously hypocritical at it's worst and laughably pretentious at it's best....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Papers]

Research Papers
968 words (2.8 pages)

Oscar Wilde Art Essay

- Oscar Wilde Art We begin another chapter in the life of Oscar Wilde, the year 1888, many things have taken place, Oscar has been married and bore two children, Vyvyan and Cyril and his touring of the United States and other countries have brought forth success to the literary giant. Some of his successful writings are "The Picture of Dorian Gray"(1891), "A Woman of No Importance"(1894) and his most resent essay known "The Decay of Lying". Is it true that lying has fallen to its deepest shadow of shame....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Writer Papers]

Research Papers
1491 words (4.3 pages)

" Suddenly the young king realizes that the robe that these workers are toiling over is the very robe that is to be used for his coronation and "a sudden terror seizes him" when this is confirmed, he gives a loud cry and wakes up.
Looking out, he realizes it was all just a dream and the all what he saw of the plight of those workers was just a dream. So he fell asleep again and had another dream and this was his dream.
He thought he was "lying on the deck of a huge galley that was being rowed by a hundred slaves." By his side was the master of the galley who carried a pair of ivory scales. There were slaves who "stretched out their lean arms and pulled the heavy oars through the water" as the "hot sun beat brightly upon them and the Negroes …lashed them with whips of hide"
Finally they were close to shore when "three Arabs mounted on wild asses rode out and threw spears at them." The master of the galley shot one of them. His companions galloped away as he "fell heavily into the surf" The youngest of the slaves was lowered into the sea on a rope ladder and emerged a few minutes later with "a pearl in his right hand," At once, "the negroes seized it from him and thrust him back." Each time he came up he brought with him a more beautiful pearl while the master "weighed them and put them into a little bag of green leather"
When the diver came up for the last time, the pearl he brought with him was "fairer than all the other pearls." But just after doing so, he died and the negroes shrugged their shoulders and threw the body overboard. The master of the galley then laughs and announces that they found the right pearl for the King's sceptre.
The young king wakes up with a great cry thinking of how a life was lost just to satisfy his selfish needs for a beautiful sceptre. But on realizing it was just a dream he falls asleep and has another dream.
In this dream, he thought he was wandering through a dim wood with exotic flora and fauna. He continued to walk until he "saw an immense multitude of men toiling in the bed of a dried up river. They swarmed up the crag like ants …. They hurried about calling to each other and no man was idle." From the darkness Death and Avarice, personified, arrive. Death asks Avarice for a third of the men. Avarice refuses saying they are her servants. When death asks her for a grain of corn she refuses again. Death then kills a third of Avarice's men with Ague. Avarice is angry and asks why death was here in this valley? To which death reminds Avarice that she still hasn't given death a grain of corn. Avarice refuses again. Death then calls forth Fever, which kills every man it touches. Avarice again pleads with Death to leave her valley, but Death says not until Avarice gives him a grain of corn. Avarice refuses once again. Death then calls Plague who kills every man remaining.
The Young king weeps and later finds out that these men who now lay dead were seeking rubies for the king's crown. He wakes up with a loud cry as "bright sunlight was streaming into his room"
The Chamberlain came in and his robe, crown and sceptre was brought to him for his coronation. But when he saw them, he was reminded of his dreams. Of the toil, the sweat of the workers of how they were exploited, how their "children fade away before their time" and the faces of those they love become hard and evil. He remembered the death of the young slave only to get him ONE beautiful pearl for his sceptre, he remembered how it was avarice that led death to kill those men, those multitudes who were working so hard in those harsh conditions all just for rubies for his crown, how they all lay dead all because of greed and selfishness. He at once, asked the raiment to be taken away and refuses to wear them as he believes it was "the looms of sorrow and by the white hands of pain" that his robe was made, there was "blood in the heart of the ruby" and "Death in the heart of the pearl."
The courtiers were stupefied. They thought the King had gone mad. The Young King instead wore the "leather runic and rough sheepskin cloak" that had worn when he was a shepherd. He then "plucked a spray of wild briar that was climbing over the balcony and bent it, and made a circlet of it and set it on his own head" This he said was his crown and took his rude shepherd's staff as his sceptre. He mounted his horse and rode towards the cathedral. People laughed and mocked him. He stopped and told them his dreams. On hearing it, a man from the crowd came and reminded the king that without the master, they would have to toil even more and that both the rich and the poor need each other and one cannot exist without the other. The Young King is disillusioned by the man's words as his idealistic views are shattered. With eyes filled with tears, he rode through the murmurs of the people.
Finally, he reaches the cathedral where the Bishop too asks him "is this a king's apparel?" to which the young king replies "shall Joy wear what Grief has fashioned?" The wise Bishop then proceeds to tell him that there may be many evil things in this world with the helpless constantly exploited by the powerful who offer no help now show any compassion or sympathy towards them. He reminds the young king that Social and economic inequality has always existed and it will continue to exist and that he cannot hope to change everything and that "the burden of this world is too great for one man to bear, and the world's sorrow too heavy for one heart to suffer" but also leaves a question with him, ‘Is not He who made misery wiser than thou art?'
He then tells the young King to go back and put on the proper clothes for the coronation. The Young King is shocked by the words of the Bishop in that atmosphere of sanctity, he stood before the image of Christ who too had worn a crown of thorns and walked a path with crowds jeering at him and mocking him.
Suddenly, from the streets cane the nobles, swords drawn who felt the young king had brought shame upon their state, they were ready to slay him. The Young King, bowed and prayed and when he was done, he rose and turned to look at them. Through the windows the sunlight came streaming through and the sunbeams wove around him a robe that was fairer than the one that had been fashioned for him, the dead staff blossomed with lilies whiter than pearls and the dry thorns blossomed with bare roses redder than rubies. He stood there in King's raiment and the Glory of God filled the place as a miracle had just taken place. He had been crowned by a force much greater than the bishop. And as the young King came down from the high alter and passed through the midst of the people. "But no man dared look upon his face, for it was like the face of an angel."
The Young King undergoes a spiritual transformation as the dreams enlighten him, showing him the plight of the poor and helpless. He realizes the toll his selfishness was taking on his people, the Sorrow, the pain, the suffering and the abuse and mistreatment to an extent where so many lives where lost just to satisfy the king's fascination with beauty. His soul is finally infused with the spirit and wisdom of God as he is crowned by God. Shimmering on the surface of this tale is Christ's message of "No one can serve two masters…Ye cannot serve God and mammon"
Return to 123HelpMe.com