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AP English: Oscar Wilde

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Alexandra Ruiz

on 28 February 2014

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Transcript of AP English: Oscar Wilde

Under The Balcony (1884)
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde
Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland.
He attended Portora Royal School
and then he attended both Trinity College and Magdalen College.
The Victorian Era
The prosperity experienced during the Victorian Era of the late 19th century gave rise to Oscar Wilde's rich and dramatic portrayals of the human condition. It was during this time that many of the citizens could now thoroughly enjoy a good education. Wilde has written countless poems and short stories that continue to inspire people around the world.
Theocritus (1881)
O beautiful star with the crimson mouth!
O moon with the brows of gold!
Rise up, rise up, from the odorous south!
And light for my love her way,
Lest her little feet should stray
On the windy hill and the wold!
O beautiful star with the crimson mouth!
O moon with the brows of gold!
O ship that shakes on the desolate sea!
O ship with the wet, white sail!
Put in, put in, to the port to me!
For my love and I would go
To the land where the daffodils blow

He is considered as one of the greatest playwrights and poets of the Victorian Era, Wilde wrote and produced nine plays in his lifespan.
His Parents were, Sir William Wilde and Jane Francesca Elgee
He also had five siblings: Henry, Emily, Mary, William, Isola
Throughout his life he was a playwright, poet, novelist, and editor.
In 1879 Wilde went on a lecture tour throughout London, Canda and the united States to teach aesthetic values.
However, the only novel he ever wrote was "The Picture of Dorian Gray" which was published in 1891.
In the heart of a violet dale!
O ship that shakes on the desolate sea!
O ship with the wet, white sail!
O rapturous bird with the low, sweet note!
O bird that sits on the spray!
Sing on, sing on, from your soft brown throat!
And my love in her little bed
Will listen, and lift her head
From the pillow, and come my way!
O rapturous bird with the low, sweet note!
O bird that sits on the spray!
O blossom that hangs in the tremulous air!
O blossom with lips of snow!
Come down, come down, for my love to wear!
You will die on her head in a crown,
You will die in a fold of her gown,
To her little light heart you will go!
O blossom that hangs in the tremulous air!
O blossom with lips of snow!
Rhyme Scheme and Metric Devices
The Rhyme Scheme of the poem is as follows:
This poem has no particular meter structure aside from having four stanzas with 8 lines each. Wilde repeats the word "O" and he also only repeats certain phrases twice, such as:

"O beautiful star with the crimson mouth!" (lines 1 & 7)
"O moon with the brows of gold!" (lines 2 & 8)
"O ship that shakes on the desolate sea!" (lines 9 & 15)
"O ship with the wet, white sail!" (lines 10 & 16)
"O rapturous bird with the low, sweet note!" (lines 17 & 23)
"O bird that sits on the spray!" (lines 18 & 24)
"O blossom that hangs in the tremulous air!" (lines 25 & 31)
"O blossom with lips of snow!" (lines 26 & 32)

The poem is about a man who awaits under a balcony, hence the name of the poem, in hopes of seeing his love. While he waits under the balcony he envisions beautiful aspects of nature yet what he truly hopes is that she will wake up and go out onto her balcony. The man wants the birds to sing louder in order to wake her from her slumber from there he will place a flower in her hair and they will sail away together.
What is the poem about?
At the age of 46 on November 30, 1990 in Paris, France.
O singer of Persephone!
In the dim meadows desolate
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Still through the ivy flits the bee
Where Amaryllis lies in state;
O Singer of Persephone!

Simaetha calls on Hecate
And hears the wild dogs at the gate;
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Rhyme Scheme and Metrical Devices
Theocritus is the creator of ancient Greek poetry and he was from Sicily. Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.
Still by the light and laughing sea
Poor Polypheme bemoans his fate;
O Singer of Persephone!

And still in boyish rivalry
Young Daphnis challenges his mate;
Dost thou remember Sicily?

Slim Lacon keeps a goat for thee,
For thee the jocund shepherds wait;
O Singer of Persephone!
Dost thou remember Sicily?

The Rhyme Scheme is as follows:
What is the poem about?
The poem is about Greek mythology and Theocritus. The speaker is remembering all the works of poems that Theocritus had written. The setting is the speaker walking through the meadows, he talks about the bees flying about the ivy where the pink amaryllis are. He then starts talking about the greek gods. Hecate is associated with the underground that’s why he has wild dogs at his gate, meaning hell. Polypheme is a giant cyclops. Daphnis was a shepherd who was supposed to be the inventor of pastoral poetry. He was also said to be mortal.

Oscar Wilde:

Oscar Wilde Biography, youtube
by: Alexandra Ruiz and Amanda Skalski
Theocritus is a 19 line villanelle with five tercets and a quatrain.
Four stanzas end with the same question
"Dost thou remember Sicily?"

Two stanzas end with the same line as the beginning of the poem

"O Singer of
Personification - laughing sea
At first sight the poem seems whimsical and happy. However the phrasing of certain lines foreshadows moments of sadness and longing.
It is also shows how he uses the perfect words to describe certain objects or things in his poem such as: "rapturous bird" meaning freedom and "desolate sea" meaning loneliness.
Also in the line:
"O ship that shakes on the desolate sea,"

symbolizes the suitors growing passion and ardent desire for this woman yet his deep fear that his love will be unrequited.

In the beginning of the poem the speaker starts off blissfully by mentioning beautiful song birds until he mentions this : "you will die on her head in a crown, you will die in a fold of her gown."
The poem also dramatically shifts when the speaker says: "tremulous air" and "lips of snow" which symbolizes death.
There is also personification in this poem:
"Beautiful star with the crimson mouth"
"Moon with the brows of gold"
"Windy hill and the wold"

A wold is a piece of high, open, uncultivated land or moor.

There is also a lot of symbolism such as:
"Heart of a violet dale"

: this symbolizes lust and also sadness because the man wants to see the woman but he knows that this will never be.
"Desolate sea"

: which symbolizes sadness and loneliness

But What Does it Mean?
After analyzing the poem we come to one main theme: which is no matter the moments in life be them blissful, disastrous, heart wrenching and human feelings such as love, loneliness and lust; life goes on and we must go along with it, because as said in the final line of the poem:
"O blossom with lips of snow"
for all of us the ultimate end is death.
So in the words of Shakespeare:
"It is better to have love and lost, then to have never loved at all."
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