Oscar wilde, Kenneth Burke, and the goat-song
Inglett, John Christian
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Critics have long substantiated the modernity of Oscar Wilde and his one novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. With many unresolved perspectives, readers find that Wilde creates characters in a chasm that exists between various convictions. What critics have overlooked are the archetypes which act as fulcrums to the many perspectives in both Wilde’s life and writings. Wilde creates tensions between various irresolvable philosophical viewpoints in both his speech and publications, but along with this irresolution, Wilde inserts a device, the archetypal scapegoat, allowing pressures created by changing social values and fluctuating ideologies to be expunged. To understand the scapegoat, this paper unpacks Kenneth Burke’s writings about the scapegoat process and applies that process to The Picture of Dorian Gray, De Profundis, and the trials of Oscar Wilde. The research for this paper excavates the scapegoat as an archetype and applies it with abundant evidence to the above works.