Socratic Dialogue In Oscar Wilde's The Decay Of Lying

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Socratic Dialogue in “The Decay of Lying” In Oscar Wilde’s 1889 essay, “The Decay of Lying,” Wilde makes an inflammatory and risky statement with his choice of form and style. The use of Socratic dialogue was a throwback to Plato’s time when art was truly valued and appreciated and social issues were not discussed by long, uneventful, and rather boring novels. Wilde speaks on a profound subject through this form because of his distaste with realism and his motivation to steer the focus of literature toward the Greek ideal. Oscar Wilde’s choice of dialogue is an appropriation of an earlier generation and a spectacle for his current time that started progressive conversations and added new subjects to the social agenda. Wilde deeply cared about…show more content…
Walter Pater’s influence on Oscar Wilde stretched across all of his work including “The Decay of Lying.” Pater was deeply passionate about Romanticism, which are reflected in Oscar Wilde’s works. While Oscar Wilde upset many people with his seemingly out of place writing, Wilde had people who also believed in his literary ideals. These opponents of realism were known as the decadent aesthetes . Writers of this title championed human creativity over logic and the natural world and created somewhat of a literary counter-culture to the modern way of writing. In “The Decay of Lying,” Vivian would identify with this movement based on his opinions of modernism and logic. Vivian explains to Cyril that “as a method Realism is a complete failure, and the two things that every artist should avoid are modernity of form and modernity of subject matter.” Wilde is, of course, speaking his own opinion through Vivian and develops his ideas throughout the Socratic dialogue. This line spoken by Vivian underscores the contrast in subject matter “The Decay of Lying” to the social norms. The essay attacks the accepted intellectual ideas of the time and hints toward homosexuality (although the term was not yet

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