One of the most Influential playwrights of the 19th Century was writer and poet Oscar Wilde. From a very young age Oscar excelled above his classmates because he grew up in an intellectual environment. Some of his greatest influences were his parents, Swinburne, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. One of his most well known works was The Importance of Being Earnest, which he wrote in August of 1894. Today he is remembered for his daring social commentary.
Oscar was born on October 16th 1854 under the birthname Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin, Ireland. Oscar’s parents were an important influence on him. His mother, Jane Wilde, was a nationalist Irish poet who went by the pen name Speranza. Both his mother and his father, Sir William Wilde, were educated people. His father was an ear and eye doctor, who had many intellectual interests. Oscar was the youngest of three children; he and his older brother were encouraged to listen party dialogue in the salon of their home. The Wilde children were exposed to different languages through their French bonne and German governess. At age nine, Oscar’s parents sent him to Portora Royal Boarding School. He then attended Trinity College in Dublin with a royal scholarship.
While at Trinity, he studied Greek literature, which would greatly influence his writing later on. His tutor, J.P. Mahaffy, with whom he worked on the book Social Life in Greece, introduced Wilde to the ancient Greek writings of Euripides, Plato and Aristotle. Not only did Wilde enjoy studying these great philosophical and literary masters, he excelled at it, and was awarded the Berkeley Gold Medal, the University's highest award in Greek. Wilde was also introduced to what would become a topic of many lectures, plays, poems and even diningroom conversations. In the University of Philosophical Society within Trinity College, Wilde took off with the idea of aestheticism. Aestheticism is the artistic idea that the art should not be used for messages of morality or higher ideals, but rather for the sake of art itself. Wilde would eventually become the most famous name in this artistic movement. Also during his time at Trinity, Wilde also took part in the University Philosophical Society. It was in the Philosophical Society that Wilde became familiar with Swinburne, an often topic of discussion among the students. Algernon Charles Swinburne was an english playwright and poet before the time of Oscar Wilde. Although later in life Wilde often criticized Swinburne for his false homosexuality and bestiality, many of his works influenced Wilde while he was in college.
Wilde’s attention to education eventually allowed him a demyship to Magdalen College in Oxford, England. While at Magdalen, Wilde became even more interested in the aesthetic and decadent movements. In his third year at Magdalen, Wilde met Walter Pater, a man who would greatly influence his writings in the future. In Pater’s Studies in the History of Renaissance, Pater...