Undoubtedly, Oscar Wilde is one of the most prominent figures of the world literature. A number of the writer's publications is huge and continues to grow even today. His plays do not cease to put in the world best theaters. Many people devoted to him researches, novels, movies, and TV shows; moreover, his paradoxes are abundantly quoted in any sections of society. Since Wilde's talent is undeniable, he is known not only for his creativity. The writer is considered a very bright and extraordinary personality that combines an extraordinary charisma and many contradictions. Oscar Wilde is a great playwright, whose work influenced the arts and public life of future generations.
The Value of Oscar Wilde for Art and Society. It is difficult to overestimate the value of O. Wilde's creativity, as it had an impact on the playwright's public order; it also formed a very wide range of followers worldwide. In addition to his literary genius, the author was a very interesting and extraordinary personality. According to Godwin, "a rough bourgeois reality with its material progress and the spirit of commercialism", which suppressed poetic imagination and killed lofty ideals, caused Wilde's continued hatred and contempt (58). The 19th century was the time of the capitalism approval and, thus, it appeared to be the most boring and tasteless time for the playwright. Wilde's only refuge from stupefying boredom, banality, and monotonicity was in art. The art never seemed to him a means of struggle but "a true abode of beauty", where there is always fun and a little neglect (Godwin 58).
Godwin states that the playwright dedicated his life and work to a search for truth and beauty, and "both concepts were equivalent to him" (Godwin 60). Using the form of the French "fable plays" with their conventions, invented intrigues, and artificial methods designed to resolve any conflicts, Wilde created a completely new genre of comedy, which was unusual for the English theater of 19th century (Godwin 60).
Many readers turn to this work for advice, sometimes, for a word of hope, comfort, joy, or regret; it serves as a friend in the difficult moments of life. The terrible conditions of life in a convict prison, crimes committed by English law, and distorted human life could not be omitted by a reasonable person of Oscar Wilde. The writer addresses two protester letters to the newspaper Daily Chronicle, in which he indignantly says about "a terrible plight of children in prison" and the immoral laws that could imprison a young child (Godwin 61). Later, Wilde writes that there were "two great turning points" in his life: the first is when his father sent him to Oxford, and when society imprisoned him (Godwin 61). It indicated a will to break with aestheticism perceived in Oxford years.
Of course, this work illustrated the depths of Wilde's life tragedy. For instance, "for Milton, tragedy was not something that happens every day; it was an idea attached to a specific form of drama performed at special times and places" (Poole 4). Thus, one can always talk about the deep tragedy of De Profundis and a rapid change of Wilde's life conviction, as it illustrated that "delight belongs to a beautiful body, while pain pertains to a beautiful soul" (Godwin 60). Undoubtedly, this work has a diametrically opposite in mood, views, style, and vocabulary to the author's previous works, but the most impressive thing of De Profundis is the writer's character and its extent showed in this work of art. Despite the fact that Wilde sincerely wants to "break with his past and dedicate his new art to suffering", he does not want to repent (Godwin 61). It is here that the author praises his genius and analyzes his art and his personality.
It is hard to imagine a world without tragedy in it and it could be argued that "we would not want a world without tragedy" (Poole 2). This quotation is an exhaustive answer to a question about the importance of drama and the way drama changes people's daily lives. Theatergoers visit theaters not because they want to have fun or to escape from the routine of life (though it is possible), as the main reason for a theater visit is another. It is not a drama's interesting story but its problems - that is what makes people go to the theater. Moreover, its problems address the very hidden and sacred of human soul. For example, "Hegel argued that drama should be regarded as the supreme art because human speech is the only medium fully adequate to the presentation of spiritual life" (Poole 30).
For instance, the problems of Wilde's dramas contain an incredible irony and sharp sarcasm that makes the viewer look at life from the outside. The theater is very different from film and other forms of art, as an actor's play is not limited in the theater and the link between the viewer and the actor is direct and very close. People will always go to the theaters to enjoy Wilde's plays. In addition, people will always pay money for it. Why do they still pay for it? The answer is simple, as people try to find a secret, which is hidden deep in the soul of the author. Actors are able to deeply feel tragedy and deliver its sense on stage. "They challenge the old idea that tragedy, if it’s to deserve its name, ought to be at once spectacular and enduring. Like a work of art" (Poole 14). Therefore, a pay-per-view of the play is a payment for the author's talent and for the actors' performance. Every piece has a particular impact on the viewer.
Nevertheless, some of plays have lost their relevance, but for all that, they show the public a great change of society. It also happens that a play aged of several hundred years fully reflects modern society's problems, which can be called "eternal". In addition, "‘tragedy’ has not lost all meaning. The word still ennobles, connoting prestige and conferring dignity. It claims that this catastrophe is exceptional, the matter of headlines" (Poole 6).
For instance, a production of Oscar Wilde's From the Depths has a very deep problems, in which Wilde put a rethinking of all of his work, analysis of his identity within the entire society that revered and then rejected him. This piece is able to convey an evolution of the playwright's art; it is a kind of monument to the great genius. The play has a special significance not only for English art, as it has become a revelation of "the seeker of the finest" in the world (Godwin 61). This piece summarizes the results of Oscar Wilde's creativity and finally proves that the author belongs to the number of individuals who changed the world for the better.
During his life, Oscar Wilde tried to teach society to see the beautiful and great and find it among bad taste and ignorance. His creativity had a huge impact on formation of future generations' art. The playwright has a unique style of writing, as he is considered "a philosopher of the highest standard": like Socrates, he lived the way he thought (Godwin 59). Strange as it may seem, but his tragic fate is encouraging. Today, the author imbues people with creativity and vitality. One can describe Wilde the way he wrote about Christ: his main merit is that he was able to get people to love him even after his death.
De profundis is a swan song of Oscar Wilde, the last work of the great writer. This letter keeps valuable information that aims at comprehension of the playwright's genius and helps to find something important, valuable, and eternal in his creativity. Thus, even prison could not break this a titan of Oscar Wilde. At the beginning of his letter, he warns "Bosie" that he would not forget whom he was and remained to the community.
Godwin, Kelli M. "Oscar Wilde's De Profundis: A Narrative Of Sexual Sin And Forgiveness." Explicator 67.1 (2008): 58-61. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.
Poole, Adrian. Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, GBR: Oxford University Press, UK, 2005. Print.