Oscar Wilde: Social Indiscretions Towards Sexual Equality
Oscar Wilde became an icon and a martyr for the modern gay community. Even though he didn’t explicitly state his homosexuality, his actions and statements with regards to the trial and criticism he received, support the idea of him as being a gay martyr and influencing gay identity. He paved the way towards social reform for gender and sexual equality. His mindset towards women and his relationships, can be seen throughout his works and his aspects of life. Even though his personal life and ideals at the time were controversial, he became the victim for his society’s sexual and moral insecurities.
The social and historical background of Oscar Wilde’s life, especially sexuality and homosexuality,…show more content… Section 11 of the act, often reffered to as the Labouchere Amendment, outlawed gross indecency. Homosexuality was illegal and prosecuted broadly because society saw it as a wrong, disgusting, and non-human behavior. If convicted of homosexuality, a man had to go through trail, imprisonment, and was depicted as a criminal, and even worse was dragged through the streets filled with people pressuring, criticizing, and disregarding your existence for engaging is such degrading behaviors (Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885).During a time where sexuality in cultural and social regards was a taboo, Oscar Wilde was accused of having sexual relations with younger men, even though he had married Constance and had two sons, and sent to prison over the course of three trials because of the individual expression of his personality and sexuality (Morley 60). With his marriage, it could be possible that he was trying to start life with a clean slate, and suppress the homosexuality of his earlier years, and leave his sexual inclinations to decline or take care of themselves (Morley…show more content… This is in part because Wilde was a part of the elite social classes. Sexuality cases involving elites were scandalous since London society was a very small social network, making it effortless to connect someone with practically everyone. If common scandals of the elite networks were revealed, their social networks would be defamed and their closets full of skeletons would be publically revealed (Adut 235). During the 1840s, the average sentenced cases for sodomy was between 12 and 18 years of age. As can be expected, the elite class and high-status actors were rarely convicted, due to such a small portion of high class people whose image could bring social unrest to society (Radzinowicz