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A Comparison Of Oscar Wilde And Dorian Gray

1325 words - 5 pages

A Comparison of Oscar Wilde and Dorian Gray
 

   One novel that stands out as literary masterpiece is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Wilde wrote a dark tale of a man, Dorian Gray, who destroys his life by exchanging his soul for eternal youth and beauty. The character of Dorian Gray, in many aspects, mirrors the self-destruction of the author's own life. Therefore, Oscar Wilde portrays his own life through Dorian Gray, the main character of the novel.

Oscar Fingal O' Flahertie Wills Wilde is one of Birtain's most well known authors. What many people do not know is that "the life story of Oscar Wilde has become...one of the tragic legends of the ages" (Broad v). Wilde was born in 1854 in Dublin, Ireland to Sir William Wilde, a distinguished surgeon specializing in opthalmology, and Lady Wilde, a poet who ran a literary salon in Dublin. Being an excellent student, he won a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford in 1874. Wilde soon adopted his parents' talents for ostentation always dressing flamboyantly and speaking in a wry, ironic matter when pertaining to subjects that he held in distaste. He graduated with honors and became a very distinguished man, but even his high stature could not prevent him from the tragedies of life. The Picture of Dorian Gray "is very much the author's autobiography" (Belford 170). In 1883, after he moved to London, he married Constance Mary Lloyd and had two sons. Wilde is thought to have married Constance "in order to quell rumors about his possible homosexuality, as well as to provide him with a regular income" (Holland 113) because it was not looked upon kindly in England in the 1800's if one was a homosexual. In 1891, The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in book form, and Wilde also met Lord Alfred Douglas. He became and "remained bisexual for a prolonged period, becoming homosexual from time to time when he gave way to that side of his nature" (Pearson 233). Although he enjoyed married life, he became more attracted to men rather than women, and he became lovers with Lord Alfred Douglas, the son of the Marquessof Queensbury. Lord Douglas' father was thought to be insane and also became very adament about trying to save his son from Wilde's inflluence. The Marquess threatened Wilde to stay away from his son, and in retaliation, Wilde sued Queensbury for criminal libel. Wilde's plan backfired, and he was tried twice and convicted during the second trial for being a homosexual. He was sentenced to two years in prison. As soon as Wilde was imprisoned, rumors began circulating that "he was suffering from a serious mental breakdown" (Hyde 33). Soon after Wilde was released from prison, his life started to really get tough. Wilde was considered to be an alcoholic. He was always drinking, probably to escape the problems going on in his life, and eventually his drinking caused him liver damage. Lord Alfred Douglas abandoned him; whereupon Wilde wrote the book De Profundis a long letter condemning...

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