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Oscar Wilde Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 50 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Oscar Wilde.
This section contains 1,625 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
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Themes

Aestheticism

Aestheticism is Oscar Wilde's overall theme that beauty is the secret to life, later to become that suffering is the secret to life. His attraction to this theme begins while he is at Oxford University and stems from the conflict between Pater and Ruskin, where Pater is the aesthetic and Ruskin is the moralist. The prime difference between the two world views is that aestheticism requires little discipline, and in fact rejects discipline, where a moralistic view requires discipline, thus elevating discipline to a virtue in and of itself.

Another way to look at this is that the ancient Greeks before Alexander's time practiced aestheticism, where beautiful literature, statuary, architecture, philosophies, and other arts were developed. Not to be ignored, homosexuality was a common and accepted practice, even among men and boys. Ruskin's moralistic view comes from a later time in history, Catholicism and Protestantism. Still another take...

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This section contains 1,625 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Oscar Wilde Study Guide
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Oscar Wilde from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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