O. Wilde The Harlot’s House

Poetry by Oscar Wilde

The title of poem is ‘The Harlot’s House’. It is significant poem as we can predict the plot. But the title doesn’t state the theme directly.The title reflects what is in a poem and contributes to the poem directly.

‘The Harlot’s House’ is a plotted poem. It comprises all the four elements of plot: the exposition, development, climax and resolution.

The exposition takes up lines 1 to 3. It presents the place, time and the main characters of the poem immmediately. At the beginning the poem takes place near the Harlot’s house and later moves inside the house. The time is night and the diction – ‘moonlit’ shows it.The main characters are introduced too. The author doesn’t mention their names, they are named as ‘We’.

The development takes up most of the poem. It begins in line 4 and ends with words ‘the house of lust’. In the development we have an action. It presents what is happening inside the house. The chharacters’ qualities are revealed in the development. The characters have no feelings, they are controled by instincts and by passion because we can find such expressions as ‘lover’, ‘breast’, ‘lust’. The narrator mocks at the people in a poem and us

ses the similes – ‘like black leaves’, ‘wire – pulled automatons’, ‘a live thing’ and etc. He calls people ‘ghostly dancers’, ‘skeletons’, ‘horrible marionette’, ‘dead’, and ‘dust’. The author compares the to phantoms and shadows. He also uses the irony and the reader can see it from such expressions as ‘ghostly dancers’, ‘slim silhouetted skeletons’ and ‘the slow quadrille’.

In the development the narrator uses the metaphores such as ‘mechanical grotesques’, ‘a clockwork puppet’, ‘a phantom lover’ and etc.These and other metaphors make images and enliven poem.

The atmosphere is noisy and chaotic, and the diction shows it – ‘din and fray’, ‘loud musicians play’, dancers spin to sound of horn and violin’, ‘thin and shrill’ and ‘they seemed to try to sing’.

The poem iss told from the plural 1st person point of view as the reader find the pronoun-we –‘we caught’, ‘we loitered’, ‘we heard’ and etc.

The climax begins with the words ‘Then suddenly’ and ends with the words ‘wheel and whirl’.The climax presents thr highest point of the development. Suddenly everything changes: ‘the tune went false / the dancers wearied of the waltz / the shadow ceased to wheel and whirl’. The mood changes from that of chaotic and noisy to that of peace an
nd quitnness.

The main theme of the poem is love, i.e. the triumph of true love . Love is unpredictable, and because of love we can roll down to the abyss but true love overcomes everything. All these things reflect in this poem .

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