Homosexuality in the Works of Oscar Wilde Essay

Homosexuality in the Works of Oscar Wilde Essay

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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). Victorians did not want anything "unclean" or "unacceptable" to interfere with their idea of perfection. Therefore, this quote, taken from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, brimming with homosexual undertones, was considered inappropriate. Due to the time period's standards, Oscar Wilde was forced to hide behind a thin layer of inference and parallel. Wilde was obsessed with the perfect image. Although he dressed more flamboyantly than the contemporary dress, it was to create an image of himself. Wilde was terrified of revealing his homosexuality because he knew that he would be alienated and ostracized from the society. Through his works, Oscar Wilde implicitly reflected his homosexual lifestyle because he feared the repercussions from the conservative Victorian era in which he lived.


Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 and led a normal childhood. After high school, Wilde attended Oxford College and received a B.A. in 1878. During this time, he wrote Vera and The Importance of Being Earnest. In addition, "for two years Wilde had dressed in outlandish outfits, courted famous people and built his public image" (Stayley 317). Doing so earned Wilde a job with Rich...

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...me, to make no mystery of his fall, and to regard him as a star which, looking at its own reflection in some dank marsh, fell down and smirched itself, and then became extinct ere it had time to soar aloft again" (Graham qtd. Tucker).



Work Cited

Wilde, Oscar. The Portable Oscar Wilde. Aldington, Richard, ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.

"The Making of the Motion Picture Wilde." (Online)(Internet) Samuelson Entertainment. 6/16/99. Available: http://www.oscarwilde.com

Kilvert, Ian Scott, ed. British Writers. Vol. 5. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982.

Marshall, Kristine E., ed. Elements of Literature. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1997.

Stayley, Thomas T., ed. The Dictionary of Literary Biograph. Vol. 34. Michigan: Book Tower, 1985.

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: The Modern Library, 1992.

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