The Doer of Good


Oscar Wilde’s poem “The Doer of Good” centres on an individual, believed to be Christ coming back to earth and examining what has happened to the people he has saved. He discovers that they have not used this chance of redemption to do great things or to better themselves. They have simply continued to sin and have squandered this gift. Each time Christ questions the individuals as to why they live like this they respond by asking him how else should they live or how else should they act? Wilde seems to be suggesting that human beings cannot help the way they are. They are designed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe that is why Wilde took such an interest in Catholicism throughout his life. Perhaps he believed that people would need forgiveness for their flaws time and time again because that is the way we are made.  The poem ends with a question and does not provide the answer for the reader. Like many aspects of Wilde’s writing and of his character the reader is left to wondering. In Declan Kilberd’s essays “The London Exiles: Wilde and Shaw” and “Oscar Wilde: The Artist as Irishman” Kilberd examines the contradictory nature of Wilde’s character. Continue reading