De Profundis by Oscar Wilde

Do words reveal you? Surely, there is a confession somewhere in you. Where you live internally more voraciously than you do externally. Where you write essays that nobody asked of you but your soul demands it. Where you map your becoming of a person and your unbecoming in a world full of identities. You may have blurred yours out here, but inside, under the mask of warped symmetry that is the rest of the world, you’re still you: a wonderful contradiction, an enigma.

Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, which reads like a soulful appeal expressing his deepest sorrows and anguish, is a steep slope to climb. I will digress a bit and explain why I think this is one of the cruelest (and not the greatest) love letters ever written. There is nothing wrong in what is written or the writer himself. Rather I see this letter as the heart of one’s darkness directed at someone invisible, which is synonymous with philistinism and apathy. The letter is heavy with hurt and passion. Hurt that is embraced as incarnate and passion that is its identical half. The soul within these faculties, alone, bear the weight of Wilde’s emotional and ideological imprisonment.

The humanity of love is not the most comforting in De Profundis. Rather I saw it as delusion and deprivation. I couldn’t help but view his isolation as a confession of a romantic’s worst nightmare. Who harbors “a sort of nausea of life” for it can be unfair and unsympathetic to the sentimental and logical, in equal measure.

In between moments of bitterly romantic resolutions are Wilde’s creative and thoughtful symphonies. Those are the ones you cling to- to be able to decipher a complex and emotional man’s journey of self-discovery; his “I” in this tragic, hedonistic, and hysterical world.

I’ll end with Wilde’s summation of the hypocrisy of this world: “The world, having had its will, goes its way, and we are left to suffer undisturbed.” However, this is not without cause as it also helps us realize that “there is nothing wrong in what one does, but there is something wrong in what one becomes. It is well to have learned that.”