Saturday, April 16, 2005

Oscar

For the first time, I assigned The Importance of Being Earnest for a class and everyone seemed to enjoy it more than anything else all semester.

It wasn't until I talked a little about Wilde's life that it really struck me how tragic it was. Sure, everyone knows the Reading Gaol but every little thing he did was painful. Tried to marry only to lose the girl to Bram Stoker (that had to hurt); tried to cure syphilis with mercury, only to have it turn his teeth black and leave the syphilis unchecked; the whole "The author is Wilde but his poetry is tame" reviews; touring America and mocked by morons (I never knew that Wilde toured into the Old West--he described the miners and cowboys as "polished and refined compared with the people I met in larger cities back East.")

It also struck me that for the drama section, lifespans decreased with time. Sophocles lived from 496 B.C. to 406, Shakespeare from 1564 to 1616, but poor Oscar only lived to 46. That might be an argument to include Death of a Salesman.

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