The Role Of Sexuality In The Happy Prince And The Nightingale And The Rose

Decent Essays
Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales have been embedded in the educational system for more than one century and a lot of children enjoyed the rich imagery that is provided in his fairy tales. Even though some critics argue that his tales were not meant for the younger audience, Wilde himself said that the tales were written for both children, and a certain class of adults as well (Duffy, 2001). However, his works can lead a reader to the understanding of his life and his views about particular topics including morality, aesthetics and sexuality. In this essay, the main focus will be on his portrayal of different kinds of sexual relationships in two fairy tales “The Happy Prince” and “The Nightingale and The Rose”. After the analysis of these stories one…show more content…
It is worth mentioning that by the nineteenth century this type of sexuality was completely unacceptable; therefore, Oscar Wilde uses a pseudonym devoted friendship in order to highlight the strong devotion that male lovers have for each other. In the mentioned story, the bird stays loyal to his lover that he even lays down his life for him. By repeating bird’s claim “I will stay with you forever” the writer puts even more emphasis on commitment that the bird feels towards the Prince (Small 2003). According to Duffy, “Wilde attributed this kind of devoted, spiritual love [between the bird and the Prince] to [two biblical figures] David and Jonathan” who sworn friendship to each other in the name of god (Duffy 2001, 330). However, the devotion that they felt for each other was apparently based on the male love because David kissed Jonathan and said “your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women” (bible hub). By introducing biblical motives of devoted friends, Wilde managed to evoke an idea that homoeroticism in the story “The Happy Prince” could mean…show more content…
“The Prince as an older male dialogically teaches the little Swallow to care for misery, and the Swallow consoles the Prince with tales of Africa and the East” (Wood 2002, 165). At the beginning of the story the bird is arrogant and selfish character that decides to rest on the statue just because it was made of the most precious metal. He is excited to have “a golden bedroom”, and shows disappointment when he realized that the statue is not a solid gold (Small 2003). Later in the story, “[t]he swallow archives selfless transformation not from moral perspective, but out of love and admiration for the Prince” (Dalarna 2007, 15). With his older lover he archives a self-knowledge, and learns that the true love is worth dying for. However, Wilde himself on one of his trials said that “[Love that doesn’t dare to speak its name] is intellectual, and it exists between an elder and a younger man, when the elder has intellect, and the younger has all the joy, hope, and glamour of life before him.” (Hyde 1975, 292) This quote contributes to the previously made argument that Oscar Wilde introduces pederasty as a pure educational or intellectual
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