The Works of Oscar Wilde

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 123
  • Published : January 26, 2006
Open Document
Text Preview
Oscar Wilde is one of the great playwrights and dramatists of the Victorian Age, known for his barbed and clever wit. He is regarded as one of the most proficient and versatile writers of the English language. He is perhaps best known for his sharp and witty rejoinders. Indeed, the playwright spoke in aphorisms on his deathbed when he stated through fevers, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go." His plays continue to dazzle audiences even a century after his death. Wilde wrote only nine plays during his lifetime. They include Salome, The Duchess of Padua, Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of no Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. Salome is a tragedy that tells the Biblical story of Salome, who dances the "Dance of the Seven Veils" for her step father King Herod and asks for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter as a reward. The play was originally published in French. It was banned on the basis that it was illegal to depict Biblical characters on stage. Salome was not performed on stage in England until 1931, when the ban was finally lifted. Salome even inspired an opera of the same name by Richard Strauss. Since then, bands like U2 and Smashing Pumpkins have also been heavily influenced by the play. Lady Windermere's Fan is a biting satire on Victorian society. Like most of Wilde's other plays, it has a dark side. The story concerns the attempts of a disreputable older woman, Mrs. Erlynne, to blackmail Lord Windermere, the husband of her daughter. Lady Windermere is not aware of her mother's true identity, and Lord Windermere believes his wife, a fastidious woman of high principles, would be greatly ashamed if this knowledge became widely known. Wilde described it as "one of those modern drawing-room plays with pink lampshades". A film adaptation called A Good Woman was released in 2005, starring Scarlet Johansson and Helen Hunt. A Woman of No Importance is another classic...
tracking img