Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was born on 16 October 1854. At an early age, he impressed his peers with his knack for humor and storytelling. He attended Trinity College, Dublin to read classics and then Magdalen College, Oxford to read Greats. His first taste of literary success was in 1878 after he won the Newdigate Prize for his poem “Ravenna”.
In the 1880s, he established himself in social and artistic circles with his flamboyant character and his wit, and soon became a spokesman for aestheticism. During this period, he published a book of poems, traveled to the United States and Canada to conduct “English Renaissance in Art” lectures, and even ventured into interior decoration.
In 1890, he came to wider prominence upon the release of his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the only novel he had written. This was followed by society comedy plays, also cementing his career as a playwright. Some of his comic masterpieces include Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895).
At the peak of his success, he was embroiled in civil and criminal suits involving his homosexuality. After two trials, he was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years of hard labor. After his release, he traveled to France and never returned to the UK. His last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, reflected the harsh prison life he experienced.
On 30 November 1900, he died from meningitis at the age of 46. In his final few years, despite financial troubles brought by his imprisonment, Wilde maintained his zeal for life and declared his renewed spirituality. He expressed his intention to be received by the Catholic Church, which he finally did moments before his death.
Admired for his literary flair, these Oscar Wilde quotes are as truthful as they are amusing.
Famous Oscar Wilde Quotes
Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance. – Oscar Wilde
I can resist everything except temptation. – Oscar Wilde
Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not. – Oscar Wilde
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much. – Oscar Wilde
To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. – Oscar Wilde
You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit. – Oscar Wilde
Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing – Oscar Wilde
Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing. – Oscar Wilde
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you. – Oscar Wilde
A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her. – Oscar Wilde
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde
The truth is rarely pure and never simple. – Oscar Wilde
I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there. – Oscar Wilde
The very essence of romance is uncertainty. – Oscar Wilde
Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship. – Oscar Wilde
A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally. – Oscar Wilde
It takes a great deal of courage to see the world in all its glory, and still to love it. – Oscar Wilde
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. – Oscar Wilde
There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. – Oscar Wilde
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde
There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely-or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. – Oscar Wilde
The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one. – Oscar Wilde
I have nothing to declare except my genius. – Oscar Wilde
I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be define by another person. – Oscar Wilde
There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing. – Oscar Wilde
You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear. – Oscar Wilde
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. – Oscar Wilde
With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy? – Oscar Wilde
Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result. – Oscar Wilde
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword.
– Oscar Wilde
Share these 30 Oscar Wilde quotes to spread some of his best lines.