Over the last few days, I watched the film "Wilde" (1997) on my laptop. The role of Oscar Wilde was played by the British comedian and author Stephen Fry.
The most lingering impression as I finished the film was the kindness in the personal character of Wilde as portrayed by Fry, which came as a warm and welcome surprise.
I think it is fair to say that Wilde was often provocative in his clever ways, as indicated by the remark attributed to him "I have nothing to declare but my genius". Wilde was making statements to the customs as he entered the United States.
With knowledge about Wilde's flamboyant manners in the background, I was tacitly assuming that the imprisonment of Wilde
was a result of his extravagance, although ultimately justifiable by aesthetic judgment by the author at that time, and by moral standards of the average citizen of today. However, the film portrayed Wilde's downfall as ultimately coming from his kindness.
Wilde was not trying to show off "the love that dare not speak its name". Quite contrary to it. Wilde was very discreet. It was the emotional confrontation between Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas (nicknamed "Bosie", wonderfully played by Jude Law) and his father the 9th Marquess of Queensberry which dragged Wilde into a court action.
Seeing the film, I realized that Oscar Wilde's downfall was a case of kindness paving one's way to destruction. Which surely happens from time to time. A sobering realization of the conditions of this strange tragicomedy we call "life".
Stephen Fry playing Oscar Wilde in the film "Wilde" (1997)