Make your own free website on

Oscar Wilde

Literary Devices
Author Biography
Picture Gallery
Theme Analysis
Imagery Analysis
Literary Devices
Topics of Related Interest
Helpful Resources for Student
Other Writers Influenced by Wilde
Influence on World Literature
Wilde's Literary Movement
Multimedia Links
Other great sites, genres
Major Works
Works Cited
The first major literary device that Oscar Wilde is known for using within his works is pun because without it he would not be able to incorporate his satiric tone of mocking the morals and standards of Victorian society. By using puns in his works, there is a comical effect while simultaneously revealing the truth in his ideas of society at that time. One fundamental idea that he demonstrates through his puns is hypocrisy. In the "Importance of Being Earnest", Wilde utilizes puns with the words "earnest" from the title of the book and "Ernest", the name of one of the main characters. Thus, he is able to address the dishonesty within society as the character began to lie to be someone he was not and resulted in being just the opposite of "earnest".

Another important literary device that Wilde incorporates in his works is irony. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the main character Dorian Gray is inhabited by all things evil. It is ironic that he was first introduced as a fun, innocent and youthful gentlemen. However, influenced by another character, Dorian's character is slowly destroyed by his vanity. Wilde implements irony to carry out themes of evil and human nature. In the case of Dorian Gray, Wilde employs situational irony to demonstrate the workings of evil that brings out the worst in a man. Consequently, it will lead to his death as Wilde also tries to portray how the corruption in Victorian society goes unpunished. It is ironic that the very youth that made him well-liked was the very thing that destroyed him.

Moreover, Oscar Wilde draws on symbolism to carry out his themes as well. Again, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, the portrait of Dorian is in reality a reflection of his inner beauty. However, while he becomes obsessed with keeping his youthful appearance, he will do anything to have it so. Thus, the picture is slowly tainted by his evil deeds and true feelings of power. The portrait is a symbol of the immoralities that become apparent in individuals who are quickly swept into the conformity of society.

Jessica Leu
Coral Gabes Senior High
12th grade IB