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Oscar Wilde - Essay Example

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The Comedies of Oscar Wilde: Parallels in Victorian Society and Contrasts in Contemporary American Society Introduction The plays of Oscar Wilde, in particular his comedies, including The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere's Fan, and An Ideal Husband are funny, engaging and satirical…
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Oscar Wilde
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Download file to see previous pages The main male characters reflected society as viewing the rich as being effeminate dilettantes. In today's society, the rich are not viewed in this same way. There was also some indication that the plays contained subversive homosexual codes, in that the main male characters were really gay, and Wilde couldn't show this because polite Victorian society would not have condoned it. It would be different in contemporary American society, as contemporary American society is much more accepting of homosexuality in general, therefore, if a playwright wants his character to be gay, he would just be gay. And there is also a portrayal of the hypocrisy of Victorian society – how the accepted mores of how things should be was in direct contradiction to how people actually behaved. This is similar to American society, where there is also hypocrisy. Thus, the plays of Oscar Wilde reflected Victorian society, and these same plays would mean something different to American society, because American society today is completely different from Victorian society during Wilde's time. Homosexuality Sinfield states that one of the hallmarks of Wilde's comedies is the effeminate man, and that, since Wilde was a known homosexual, this was his way of disguising the content – the content being homosexuality. He couldn't just write about gay men – he had to write about them in a subversive way. ...
Algernon's Bunbury, like Jack's Ernest, was allegedly an invalid brother in bad health, who was in constant need of care. Sinfield states that Bunbury not only denotes that Algernon, and Jack for that matter, lived a double life, much like a homosexual, but also denotes homosexuality just by its name – Bunbury. Bunbury could have been British slang for a male prostitute, according to Sinfield (1), and others state that Bunbury could have also been used as slang for a homosexual pickup (2). Furthermore, Algy and Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest demonstrate their feminine qualities, according to Sinfield, by the fact that they are idle, do not care about moral conventions, exploit their romantic devotions to their women and make suggestions regarding future profligacy – such as when Algernon complains about how difficult it is doing nothing (Wilde, 683). Sinfield also states that the play Lady Windermere's Fan contained homosexual subversive messages. Sinfield states that Cecil Graham is a “dandy” in that play (3). This is shown through the language of Graham in the play – he refers to Mrs. Erlynne as being “handsome,” (Wilde, p. 487), and that he, Graham, was “one of her admirers” (487). Further, Sinfield states that when Graham was asked how long he could love a woman who didn't love him back, when his reply was “all my life,” this meant that Graham might “have a preference for relations that never get anywhere” (3). Sinfield further states that there are other effeminate characters in this play. Lord Augustus is one of them – Sinfield states that Lord Augustus is effeminate because he is flabby, other men make fun of him, he falls to easily for feminine charms, has been ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Oscar Wilde
Over 100 years have passed since the death of this great writer and although he remains a mysterious figure, his life has been studied at great length in order to ascertain what factors influenced his literary works. According to The Literature Network, Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854(Merriman, 2008).
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