“De Profundis” by Oscar Wilde Essay
The theme of homosexuality in the book“De Profundis” by Oscar Wilde.
Why is Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis” so different from any other book?
How is Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis” connected with homosexuality?
What is the conflict of Oscar Wilde’s message?
Oscar Wilde did not have to use the word homosexual in this book in order to emphasize the feeling of a man and the reasons of actions, and not the manifestations.
“De Profundis” by Oscar Wilde Essay
Introduction: The book “De Profundis” written by Oscar Wilde is very different from any book a man can possible read. It is a story of a man that had everything in life, but could not satisfy his “thirst”. He says: “I used to live entirely for pleasure. I shunned suffering and sorrow of every kind. I hated both”.It is a story of a man who has been changed by jail. In jail is given the understanding of why people are the way they are. He admits it saying:”…during the last few months I have, after terrible difficulties and struggles, been able to comprehend some of the lessons hidden in the heart of pain”. Being different is always a “label” in front of the whole society, a “label” that is able to make a great difference no matter who you are and what you do. The society presses a “different” man leaving him the only desire – to escape and not to let anyone know the place of his sanctum. Oscar Wilde did not have to use the word homosexual in this book in order to emphasize the feeling of a man and the reasons of actions, and not the manifestations.
The expression through feeling gave the author the possibility to reach the heart of the reader and destroy the living stereotypes. The authors says: “When people are able to understand, not merely how beautiful -'s action was, but why it meant so much to me, and always will mean so much, then, perhaps, they will realize how and in what spirit they should approach me. . . .”. He is trying to awaken the best in the heart of the reader. The terms “homosexual” is a stereotype by itself; it is also a “label”. Therefore the usage of this term in the text would have eliminated the influence it has on the minds of the readers. Nobody can fight a stereotype using one. Oscar Wild felt it with his whole soul. The document would have been definitely less profound with the introduction of the term “homosexual” into it. Its liberal use would lead to a preconceived attitude that is given by this word, which was negative in all times. Oscar Wild says outstanding words, revealing the society’s attitude: “Well, now I am really beginning to feel more regret for the people who laughed than for myself. Of course when they saw me I was not on my pedestal, I was in the pillory”. The concept of homosexuals would definitely change this letter and make it less spiritual. It would have been harder for ordinary people to understand that “these people” also love and want to be loved. And that only suffering made them the way they are. “…That little, lovely, silent act of love has unsealed for me all the wells of pity: made the desert blossom like a rose, and brought me out of the bitterness of lonely exile into harmony with the wounded, broken, and great heart of the world”, - the words of the author make the reader accept that if love is the base of some act then why should it be derided? The concept is not to focus on homosexuality but on the reaction of the society to everything that does not “fit” it, everything it is afraid of and everything it tries to hide.
Conclusion: The message does not have to go in straight words, it does not defend anything, does not speak for or against anything. It just shows that people have no right to laugh at something they do not know, at a tragedy they have not experienced. Oscar Wild reveals a very fine understanding of what suffering are and how much “ different” people suffer. Being “different” does not make them bad people. They are not good, not bad, but simply different. That is the message, a message free of stereotypes. The society has to fight against the desire of these people to hide, because nobody should ever say that he want the night to ”… send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt”.