The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde
Author: Oscar Wilde | Published: 1898
The Ballad of Reading Gaol
The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a moving poem by Oscar Wilde, written in 1898 after his release from prison. Written in response to the wrongful execution of one of his fellow inmates for murder, this haunting work speaks to the injustice of the penal system and offers an unexpected glimpse into Wilde’s inner turmoil during his incarceration. The five-part poem follows a soldier who has been hanged for killing his wife, as well as reflections on life inside Reading Gaol.
Wilde paints a vivid portrait of the prison’s grim and dreary atmosphere, featuring lines such as “the warders with their shoes of steel/Were marching up and down” and “Each narrow cell once meant a hell/For him who dwelt therein. Find out more about The Ballad of Reading Gaol
About Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde was an iconic Irish poet, dramatist, and novelist of the late 19th century. From his early childhood in Dublin to his later years in Paris and London, Wilde’s works have captivated readers for generations with their wit and charm. He is best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), which challenged the social conventions of its time by exploring themes such as morality, beauty, youthfulness, narcissism, and hedonism. Wilde also wrote many short stories and plays throughout his career that are still performed today.
His writings were often filled with satire and criticism of Victorian society’s standards regarding marriage and gender roles as well as censorship laws put into place by the British government at the time. His writing style featured an abundance of clever remarks that resonated widely among audiences. Find out more about Oscar Wilde.