Oscar Wilde is an Irish poet and a playwright of the 19th century. He has knowledge of both philosophical and political. He has prophetic and insightful socialism in his literary style. In his works, he speaks about the situation after 100 years of the world.
On one he wants to end the human race of the society and contrarily he is concerned about the authorities that could have lost its power over citizens. Wilde is Contradicting between his own thoughts of socialism.
The important concept is it needs to an artist instead of being a politician to achieve freedom. The brutal side effect of that century’s socialism is that it didn’t make the people equal, rather it made them poorer. The concept of the revolutionaries is to enslave the artists and manipulate the art.
They are not artists but politicians. This is why socialism comes to an end with capitalism.
Belonging to a capitalist society Wild observes how the artists are dominated by the authority and why the art has lost its originality. He learns the truth about the democracies the society and reveals it to the public to widely to show how the arrogant and desperate people are running the system and ruling over the citizens. These Democrats are even worse tyrant than kings.
Wilde Does not want to be a part of a society where the government orders its citizens. This is as hectic as capitalism and the society enjoys to enslave the people.
Wilde describes the individualistic nature of socialism, except the collectivist and authoritarian one. Wilde understands that socialism should be about eliminating poverty from the society.
Wilde accuses the charity system because he thinks it is responsible for increasing poverty in the society. Ultimately these leads everyone to be poorer and scared. Although he is frequently recognized as an egoistic person he says, “A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. but it would be actually selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.”
Oscar Wilde is a man of the freedom of the capitalist society. To be open-minded is considered to be a crime in that age. The time, when people will be able to identify the popularity of Oscar Wilde and Arthur Rimbaud and recognize them as the real revolutionaries, ultimately they will achieve freedom. His essay on socialism is a brilliant step towards the realization.
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Essay on socialism
Oscar Wilde writes an essay about socialism, The Soul of Man under Socialism in 1891. He has shared his opinions about the importance of the art and socialist and capitalist world and its democracy throughout the essay.
Wilde’s thoughts are based on utopian concepts. He has a Utopian effect on his writings and how he connects to his readers and it has already been proven previously. He discusses worthy values of socialism which deserve some attention and should not be disregarded.
Wilde is concerned about how democracy has stunted the growth of poor people and does not allow them to learn a lesson and achieve enlightenment. The economical condition of the poor is not a matter of concern for him.
Soon he shifts the focus of his readers from one topic to another. Politically, the conditions are under development according to Wilde. Wilde believes that only art can lead to individualism and free people from capitalism. He sees so many people are devoted to art. The Soul of Man under Socialism is not all about politics but rather it is more about Art.
Dictating the Art
If an authority or a dictator or a government tries to dominate and manipulate the artist and rule over their minds, the art runs out of its originality and becomes a flavourless, bland or rather too plain version of the craft.
The dilemma of Oscar Wilde
It is both too easy and difficult to be an individualist in a capitalistic world. On one hand, It’s effortless because to capture the attention of the public through his writings requires the essential plot, style, theme, psychology, and treatment of literature. These are already there in his writings and he used his works as his weapon against the capitalism of the society.
On the other hand, it is difficult because it is always not so easy to meet the expectations of the public. sometimes to entertain other’s needs, he has to reach it by forcing his art, which is not natural and rather too hoax. This is against his ideals being an individualist. Suppressing his own features such as his narrative techniques and his psychology is against individualism.
The Soul of a Man under Socialism summary
The soul of Man under Socialism is an essay of Wilde where he describes how people are wasting their talents and their lives as well by being excessively selfless. They are not allowed to nurture their true talents. But rather they are forced to solve the problems created by capitalism of the society.
They are not aware of the main reasons behind the problem. It is not a matter of problem that the poor people are too simple and kind but the problem is the dictators are taking advantage of it.
Wilde examines the poor people and their problems and it has a huge impact in his essay. He is concerned more about a man’s soul. During his imprisonment, he develops knowledge about Christianity and believes Jesus as the supreme artist and individualist. He enriches himself with the ideology of individualism and socialism.
Wilde an artist of capitalist society, first observes and studies the essential information about arts and development and then promotes those points of socialism to enlighten people. Wilde promotes socialism which will lead to individualism so that people will be able to identify themselves as artists and their interests. They will not worry about their financial difficulties.
Wilde supports non-capitalism He believes socialism will let people think freely which will help them to create a unique form of art. It will free their minds and in this way, they will be able to understand themselves better and invest their time and energy in creating arts.
Thus the development of the man’s soul is more important. Wilde declares himself as a nihilist. He compares Hellenism with the new individualism.
Historian George Woodcock says the essay is inspired by William Godwin and comments the essay to be, “the most ambitious contribution to literary anarchism.”
One of the philosophers shares the thoughts of Wilde about Charity and states, “The problem of poverty will never be solved simply by keeping poor people alive.”
The Soul of a Man under Socialism quotes
“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”
“High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”
“The true perfection of man lies not in what man has, but in what man is.”