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,
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Upon his return to England in 1883, Wilde began lecturing on his experiences in America. This is how he came to meet Constance Lloyd, whom he later married on May 29, 1884. The couple had two children together. However, the marriage began to have problems after Wilde met Canadian, Robert Ross, which "began his involvement in the disordered, destructive homosexual lifestyle so luridly suggested in The Picture of Dorian Gray and catalogued in his sensational trials" (Stayley 318). Robert Ross forced Wilde to confront the homosexual tendencies that he had been trying desperately to suppress. A whole new world opened for Wilde, and his only resource in which to channel this new energy was through his literary works.

In 1888, Oscar Wilde published a set of fairy tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales and "The Young King." These stories, "revealed another approach to moral situations and human relationships" (Stayley 319). The fairy tales were perhaps the first time Wilde introduced homosexual undertones into his works. For example, in the story The Happy Prince, a male bird and a statue of a Prince fall in love. Although it could be argued that the love between the Prince and the bird was only that of friends, most likely Wilde is expressing his own feelings of homosexuality through the bird and the Prince's relationship. For example,

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