Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Wilde- Individual in society-essay on the film based around Oscar Wilde

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Cheap custom essay on Wilde- Individual in society-essay on the film based around Oscar Wilde

Wilde is a film set in England during the 1800's (Victorian Era) about Oscar Wilde, a controversial member of society at the time. His controversial and shocking plays went against the conventions of society, and his promiscuous secret homosexual lifestyle shocked people of the time also. At the time it was seen as acceptable for men to be more affectionate than men of previous times, however it was a fine line between acceptable affection and promiscuity. Sinful acts such as pre-marital sex and same sex relationships were still looked down upon. His homosexual lifestyle was kept a secret for a lot of his life however his controversial plays weren't. They were referred to as "the masks we wear as faces and the faces we wear as masks" Bosies', (Oscars boyfriend) reaction to the plays further reveal the way that Oscars plays were shocking to audiences of the time and Bosies' approval shows his passion and determination for going against the conventions of society.

"We need shocking people are so banal and you use your wit like a foil, you cut through all those starched shirt fronts, you draw blood."

The film also reflects the restricting society of the time. The class system, fake appearances which people upheld in order to maintain their reputation and the ways in which the sanctity of marriage was disregarded and marriage was viewed as a way for people to uphold and improve their social positions.

The movie begins with the marriage of Oscar to Constance, and it is through this marriage we see societies views of the time reflected in Oscars' feelings towards the marriage. When talking about Constance he says, "well I must marry someone, and my mother has our future planned out in every detail." Their marriage is only a way for Oscar to uphold his reputation and for his plays to be successful, as people wouldn't think highly of a homosexual play writer. Therefore Oscar used Constance and his children as a disguise for his promiscuous lifestyle. Throughout the play Constance is aware of her husbands dishonesty however as she is only a woman she is powerless to do much about it. When discussing the issues of her husband with a friend the friend says " its not whether there is anything wrong, it's whether or not there appears to be, that's all anyone cares about"

This shows the way people were encouraged to act as if they were happy in their lives just to uphold a position in society, and save being shamed.

Although Oscar led a promiscuous lifestyle, and in that sense he was an individual in his society who didn't conform to the role of a typical husband, by using Constance as a disguise for his ways a weak side to his character is revealed. Throughout the movie Oscar has affairs with young men who were aspiring play writers and poets and looked up to Oscar for guidance. This is where a parallel plot occurs in the film. Oscar tells his children a story of a giant whose garden young children continually tried to play in, however the huge fence stopped them and they were never tall enough to get over. Lines from this tale are repeated in the film particularly in scenes of Oscar and Bosie. The story of the giant and Oscar's relationships with younger men are closely related. The young men looked up to Oscar the way the children did the giant. They seeked his approval and love however, the wall around Oscar prevented them from receiving affection. It was only his relationship with Bosie that we see Oscar returning the feelings, but even Bosie sometimes is immature and doesn't understand Oscar's duties as a husband and father, which puts up a wall between them.

Bosie says to Oscar "you say you hate conformity, but you're the most conforming person I know" This shows the way that Oscar was being held back by the conventions of his society and wouldn't completely reject his role as a husband and father to lead his homosexual lifestyle. Bosie in this sense is a much stronger character as he completely rejects his strict fathers disapproval of his relationship with Oscar and gives up all his money and assets to be with him. His self-determination is what allows him to stand up for what he wants for his life, not what others dictate for him. Oscar does conform to society in the way that he uses the image of marriage to cover up his lifestyle. However, when he sees Lord Alfred's (Bosie's father) nasty ways towards his children, which continually upset Bosie and led another to suicide, Oscar did not stand back and accept what was happening. In one particular scene Lord Alfred stormed into Oscars house demanding for Oscar to never see Bosie again. Oscar stood up against him, even though Alfred was a high member of society and was determined to make this narrow minded man see that his judgemental ways were driving his children away.

It was this strength in character however that led to his destruction, because Alfred then retaliated and brought Oscars ways to the attention of the public and had him charged and tried for improper behaviour. Oscar did however stand up against the court. When they criticised his poetry for being too suggestive Oscar replies "there is no morality or immorality in thought" During the court hearing Oscar maintained his composure and stated his opinions assertively, unphased by the disapproval of the public.

After the court hearing Oscar is ordered to carry out two years of hard labour, it is during this time that Constance dies, Oscars health also rapidly declines and he ages significantly. When he is released he and Bosie meet again. This is a strong symbol that Oscars' feelings weren't altered and he returned to the same lifestyle that got him into trouble in the first place. He had now completely rejected societies opinions and led the lifestyle he was always held back from. It was during Oscars' time that the stereotyping for homosexuals began. Oscars' ways, for example, his love for poetry, interior decoration and beauty were the basis of such stereotypes. His shocking unconventional ways turned heads and brought the secretive homosexual lifestyles of many men to peoples attention.

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