Blog Post 7: Is Wilde “Wild”?

Oscar Wilde was a popular author, playwright, and poet in late Victorian England. He was a literary figure in the Victorian Era and belonged to the aesthetic and decadent literary movements. Wilde’s literary genres ranged from epigram to drama, from short story to criticism, and journalism. Back in the 19th century, Wilde did not have a good reputation as he was known for his wit, flamboyance, and his trials and jail sentence for homosexual acts. Oscar was alive a decade before the Sexual Offense Act of 1967 was passed in England, meaning homosexuality was still illegal in the country and something he had to serve time in jail for. The publicity of his private affairs caused him to be perceived as a controversial figure. However, people are way more accepting of different sexualities in the current time period, so Wilde’s work has resurfaced and is making another great impact on readers today who are not judging his personal life. I definitely think he is a wild author because of his courage and bravery to be himself and to put out such controversial work during a very close-minded time period.

Wilde was a controversial figure largely for his homosexuality and conviction of “gross indecency”. One of his poems, ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’, was inspired not only by his own incarceration in prison, but by the execution of a soldier for the murder of his wife. The repeated line, ‘Each man kills the thing he loves’, conveys a bigger metaphorical significance in the context of Wilde’s own life. This is a wild piece because it goes against the common notion that murderers are horrible people that deserve to be on death row for their crimes. Oscar Wilde takes the contrary approach throughout his poem by explaining the harsh brutality criminals face. Once again, he is successfully challenging society through his writing.

Katsiaryna Aliashkevich


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2 Responses to Blog Post 7: Is Wilde “Wild”?

  1. mw38866

    I definitely agree with the fact that his work has been more widely accepted nowadays because homosexuality has now been more openly accepted and talked about. I definitely agree with the fact that he challenges society in his writing as well as his life. Great job!

  2. ack2234

    I did not immediately catch the line referring to the murder of a soldier’s wife. I agree that Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” is a prime example of his wildness, as he is speaking out on the harsh prison conditions he experienced.

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